The Role of Seniority at U.S. Work Places: A Report on Some New Evidence

19 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2001 Last revised: 11 Sep 2021

See all articles by James L. Medoff

James L. Medoff

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Katharine G. Abraham

University of Maryland - Joint Program in Survey Methodology and Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: 1981

Abstract

This study discusses newly collected data concerning the role played by seniority in U.S. firms' termination and promotion decisions. The new information, based on 561 usable responses to a nation-wide survey of companies conducted by the authors, sheds light on two key questions: For what percentage of U.S. private sector employees (outside of agriculture and construction) is seniority -- per se (that is, seniority independent of current performance) rewarded in promotion decisions? For what percentage does protection against job loss grow with seniority even when current value to the firm does not? While there appear to be important differences for hourly versus salaried employees and for those covered by collective bargaining versus those not so covered, the new evidence presented strongly supports the claim that seniority independent of productivity plays a major role in the compensation and termination decisions affecting all employee groups at most U.S. workplaces.

Suggested Citation

Medoff, James L. and Abraham, Katharine G., The Role of Seniority at U.S. Work Places: A Report on Some New Evidence (1981). NBER Working Paper No. w0618, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=275374

James L. Medoff (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Room 115
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-4209 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Katharine G. Abraham

University of Maryland - Joint Program in Survey Methodology and Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
36
Abstract Views
1,247
PlumX Metrics