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Endogenous Choice of Firm Size and the Sturcture of Wages: A Comparison of Canada and the United States

Stéphanie Lluis ()

Working Papers from Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus)

Abstract: This paper compares the Canadian and U.S. wage structures by firm size. The objective is to test for the possibility of different returns to education and experience as well as examine the role played by unmeasured skills in driving the allocation of workers across firms of different sizes. Those effects may arise if large and small firms have different working environments in which the various dimensions of workers' skills (measured and unmeasured) may not be identically productive. The analysis is performed separately for the samples of unionized and non- unionized workers in order to isolate any effects of unions on the size- wage structure. The results show evidence of non-random selection of workers into firms of different sizes for both countries in both sectors. In the non-unionized sector, the selection is found to be strongly negative in large firms in both countries and positive in smaller (strongly for the U.S.). This result implies that workers in large firms are of lower quality in terms of unmeasured aspects of skills and equivalently that large firms do not seem to reward unmeasured skills, and the contrary for small firms. In Canada, although unions are associated with the compressed wage- educational differentials relative to non-unionized employers, the wage- educational differentials are more pronounced in smaller unionized employers. Moreover, similar selection patterns as those in the non- unionized sector are found.

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