Inter-Industry Wage Differentials, Job Content and Unobserved Ability
The authors estimate inter-industry wage differentials using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s National Compensation Survey (NCS) dataset. The NCS dataset has a number of distinct advantages over household survey datasets typically used for this purpose, in part because its establishment data contain information on job content and more accurate measures of industry and occupation. The authors find that controlling for job functions substantially lowers inter-industry wage variation. To the extent that job function proxies for productivity, a substantial portion of inter-industry wage variation may be explained by worker sorting on (observed) ability.