How Do Employers Use Compensation History?: Evidence from a Field Experiment
50 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2017
Date Written: July 13, 2017
We report the results of a field experiment in which treated employers could not observe the compensation history of their job applicants. Treated employers responded by evaluating more applicants, and evaluating those applicants more intensively. They also responded by changing what kind of workers they evaluated: treated employers evaluated workers with 7% lower past average wages and hired workers with 16% lower past average wages. Conditional upon bargaining, workers hired by treated employers struck better wage bargains for themselves. Using a structural model of bidding and hiring, we find that the selection effects we observe would also occur in equilibrium.
Keywords: field experiments, compensation, search and screening
JEL Classification: J010, J300, M500, M510
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation