III. Between-Plant and Within-Plant Components of Wage Dispersion
In this section, we combine data from household and establishment surveys to decompose the variance of hourly manufacturing wages into between-plant and within-plant components. The decomposition methodology is from Davis and Haltiwanger (1991, 1996). The analysis in this section extends their results over a longer time period and incorporates nonproduction workers who work in auxiliary establishments such as central administrative offices, research facilities, and warehouses. The variance of hourly wages across hours worked in the manufacturing sector can be written as:
where a denotes production workers’ share of hours worked, Vp denotes the variance of wages across hours worked by production workers, V” denotes the variance of wages across hours worked by nonproduction workers, Wp is the hours-weighted mean of the production worker wage, and W” is the hours-weighted mean of the nonproduction worker wage. Equation (1) expresses the total variance of hourly wages as the hours-weighted sum of the variances of production and nonproduction workers along with a term reflecting the contribution of differences in the mean wages across production and nonproduction workers. For each worker type, the variance can be further decomposed as:
where V^p represents the between plant component and V^p the within plant component for worker type j.
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To estimate the components of the decompositions in (1) and (2) for the manufacturing sector we proceed as follows. We utilize household data from the 1975 through 1993 March Current Population Survey (CPS) and establishment data from the Longitudinal Research Database (LRD). From the individual-level wage observations in the CPS files, we calculate α, V, Vp, Vn, Wp, W” for all workers employed in manufacturing in each of the years under consideration (1975-1992). We also generate the production and nonproduction variances at the two-digit SIC industry level. From the plant-level observations in the LRD, we calculate the between-plant component for each worker type for each of the corresponding years at the two-digit level. For each worker type, we generate the within-plant component in equation (2) by taking the difference between the total variance calculated from the CPS and the between-plant variance calculated from the LRD at the two-digit level. Appropriately aggregating the between and within plant components across industries yields the decomposition at the total manufacturing level. As part of this aggregation, we decompose the overall between-plant component for each worker type into a between-plant, within-industry component and a between-industry component.