National Wage Setting

88 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2022 Last revised: 14 Apr 2023

See all articles by Jonathon Hazell

Jonathon Hazell

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Christina Patterson

University of Chicago

Heather Sarsons

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bledi Taska

Emsi Burning Glass

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Date Written: November 2022


How do firms set wages across space? Using job-level vacancy data and a survey of HR managers, we show that 40-50% of a job’s posted wages are identical across locations within a firm. Moreover, nominal posted wages within the firm vary relatively little with local prices, a pattern we verify with other measures of job level wages. Using the co-movement of wage growth across establishments, we argue these patterns reflect national wage setting---a significant minority of firms choose to set the same nominal wage for a job across all their establishments, despite varying local labor market conditions.

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Suggested Citation

Hazell, Jonathon and Patterson, Christina and Sarsons, Heather and Taska, Bledi, National Wage Setting (November 2022). NBER Working Paper No. w30623, Available at SSRN: or

Jonathon Hazell (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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Christina Patterson

University of Chicago ( email )

Heather Sarsons

University of Chicago ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Bledi Taska

Emsi Burning Glass ( email )

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Boston, MA 02110

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