Article Title

The Hiring Decisions and Compensation Structures of Large Firms


This paper investigates differences between large and small firms in new hires’ ages and in compensation structures. An analysis of data from the Benefits Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) shows that large firms hired younger workers than small firms and awarded starting wages that discriminated less between young and older workers. Most strikingly, the wellknown wage premium associated with employment in large firms did not obtain for white-collar workers who were hired at age 35 or older, due to large firms’ preference for younger new hires. Another finding is that wage growth in large firms equaled or exceeded that in small firms. The author argues that these findings accord with firm-specific human capital theory. Finally, limited evidence from the 1995 BLS Survey of Employer-Provided Training and the CPS suggests that industries that train more also hire younger workers.

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