Where the Grass is Greener: Voluntary Turnover and Wage Premiums
Posted: 19 Apr 2000
Standard economic and compensation theories suggest that voluntary turnover should decline when a firm pays wages that are higher than those of its competitors. Turnover behavior in the State of California's Civil Service, however, does not support this prediction. Using a fixed effects estimator to control for job-specific characteristics, I find that the wages California pays relative to those of its competitors has little or no effect on turnover. In addition, estimates of the elasticity of turnover with respect to alternative wages indicate that higher wage rates do not pay for themselves through lower turnover costs. Instead, the absolute wage level and wage growth have large effects. In other words, it appears that workers are less likely to quit jobs that pay high wages and have larger wage increases, no matter how their wages compare to those paid by other employers.
JEL Classification: J31, J63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation