The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data
Quarterly Journal of Economics
By George Baker, Michael Gibbs, and Bengt Holmstrom
We analyze twenty years of personnel data from one firm. The hierarchical structure is quite simple and stable. Career movements suggest that the employee's rate of learning and the firm's learning about ability are important. There are promotion "fast tracks." Exit rates vary little with tenure or salary. The firm has personnel policies like those described in the internal labor markets literature, although several theoretical preconditions for ILMs, such as ports of entry and exit, are lacking. Job levels are important to compensation, but there is also substantial individual variation in pay within levels. Our companion paper (in this issue) explores the wage policy of this firm.
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