December 2002

IZA DP No. 660: Do Large Employers Pay More in Developing Countries? The Case of Five African Countries

revised version published as "A Comparative Study of the Employer Size Wage Effect in Africa" in: Journal of Economic Development, 2004, 29 (1), 137-161

Using comparable data sets for five African countries we estimate, and evaluate possible explanations for, the employer size wage effect across these. Our results indicate, just as has been generally found for other developing and developed nations, that apart from observable worker characteristics most potential theories cannot explain very much of the wage premium received in larger firms. Moreover, we find that the employer size wage effect does not differ greatly across the five African countries. Like other developing nations it is, however, larger than that found in the industrialised world, and, unlike the industrialised world, larger for white than blue collar workers. Additionally, data for one of the African countries in conjunction with other tentative evidence suggests that this may in part be because skill biased technology affects the firm size wage distribution across skill groups in developing countries more.