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The Measurement of Labor Cost

Measuring costs of labor as a portion of total production costs has never before been treated so thoroughly or so thoughtfully. Moreover, contrary to most recent labor research, this book focuses on the demand side—the employer’s point of view—and the behavior studied is employer behavior.

An introductory essay by the editor provides a useful guide to current thought in the analysis of labor cost. Other papers give new insights into problems encountered in accounting for the nonwage elements of labor compensation, the effect of pensions and other benefits, and the wage-measurement questions raised by incomes policies. In addition, there is a wealth of valuable new data on labor costs in the United States.

Labor economists, statisticians, econometric modelers, and advisers to government and industry will welcome this up-to-date and comprehensive treatment of the costs of production.

Table of Contents

Prefatory Note
1. Introduction: An Essay on Labor Cost
Jack E. Triplett
I. Overview: Concepts, Methodology, and Data
2. The Fixed Employment Costs of Specialized Labor
Walter Y. Oi
Comment: Ernst R. Berndt
3. Structural Estimation in Implicit Markets
James N. Brown
4. Analysis of Labor Cost: Data Concepts and Sources
Joseph R. Antos
Comment: F. Thomas Juster
II. Measures of Aggregate Labor Cost in the United States
5. Sectoral Measures of Labor Cost for the United States, 1948-1978
Frank M. Gollop and Dale W. Jorgenson
6. The Size Distribution of Wage and Nonwage Compensation: Employer Cost versus Employee Value
Timothy M. Smeeding
Comment: Martin David
7. New Measures of Labor Cost: Implications for Demand Elasticities and Nominal Wage Growth
Daniel S. Hamermesh
Comment: Edward P. Lazear
8. Intermetropolitan Wage Differentials in the United States
George E. Johnson
Comment: Richard F. Muth
9. Imputing Income in the CPS: Comments on "Measures of Aggregate Labor Cost in the United States"
Donald B. Rubin
III. Pensions and Benefits as Labor Cost Components
10. Estimating Wage-Fringe Trade-Offs: Some Data Problems
Robert S. Smith and Ronald G. Ehrenberg
Comment: Charles Brown
11. Fringe Benefits in Employee Compensation
Arleen Leibowitz
Comment: B. K. Atrostic
12. The Effect of Pension Plans on the Pattern of Life Cycle Compensation
Richard V. Burkhauser and Joseph F. Quinn
Comment: Cordelia W. Reimers
IV. Labor Cost Measures and Economic Policy Analysis
13. Measuring Labor Compensation in Controls Programs
J. Stuart McMenamin and R. Robert Russell
14. Wage Measurement Questions Raised by an Incomes Policy
Donald A. Nichols
V. Data Appendixes
Appendix A. Current and Historical Availability of BLS Wage, Price, and Productivity Series by SIC Industries
Joseph R. Antos
Appendix B. Sectoral Labor Input
Frank M. Gollop and Dale W. Jorgenson
Appendix C. Labor Cost Series, Manufacturing and Private Business, 1953-1980
Daniel S. Hamermesh
List of Contributors
Author Index
Subject Index

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