Erling Barth is Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research (ISF) in Oslo and Professor II at the Department of Economics, University of Oslo, associated with the center Equality, Social Organsization and Performance (ESOP). He is Research Economist at NBER, Cambridge, MA, and Wertheim Fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard University. His PhD is from the Department of Economics at the University of Oslo. He has been Research Associate at the Institute of Industrial Relations at the University of California at Berkeley (1991-92) and Visiting Scholar at the Department of Economics, Harvard University and the NBER in Cambridge, MA (1998-99, 2008-10). He has been an editor and co-editor of the Nordic Journal of Political Economy and of Søkelys på arbeidsmarkedet (Spotlight on the labour market).

He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the European Association of Labour Economists (EALE)(2000-08).

His research interests include education, productivity, technological change, the wage structure, gender wage differentials, labour mobility, firms’ behaviour and the impact of labour market institutions. His research is published in the American Economic Review, Journal of the European Economic Association, the American Journal of Political Science, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Corporate Finance, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Industrial and Labor Relations Review among others.

He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in December 2004.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 11111

We exploit tax-induced exogenous variance in the price of union membership to identify the effects of changes in firm union density on firm productivity and wages in the population of Norwegian firms over the period 2001 to 2012. Increases in union density lead to substantial increases in firm productivity and...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10974

We use a unique match between the 2000 Decennial Census of the United States and the Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics (LEHD) data to analyze how much of the increase in the gender earnings gap over the lifecycle comes from shifts in the sorting of men and women across high- and...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8437
published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2106, 34 (2), s67-s97

This paper links data on establishments and individuals to analyze the role of establishments in the increase in inequality that has become a central topic in economic analysis and policy debate. It decomposes changes in the variance of log earnings among individuals into the part due to changes in earnings...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6494

The complementarity between wage setting and welfare spending can explain how almost equally rich countries differ in economic and social equality among their citizens. More wage equality increases the welfare generosity via political competition in elections. A more generous welfare state fuels wage equality via an empowerment of weak groups...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4137
published as 'Performance Pay, Union Bargaining and Within-Firm Wage Inequality' in: Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2012, 74 (3), 327 - 362

This paper examines the impact of performance-related pay on wage differentials within firms. Our theoretical framework predicts that, compared to a fixed pay system, pay schemes based on individual output increase within-firm wage inequality, while group-based bonuses have minor effects on wage dispersion. Theory also predicts an interaction between performance-related...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 3930
published in: Labour Economics, 2009, 16 (5), 589-597

Motivated by models of worker flows, we argue in this paper that monopsonistic discrimination may be a substantial factor behind the overall gender wage gap. On matched employer-employee data from Norway, we estimate establishment-specific wage premiums separately for men and women, conditioning on fixed individual effects. Regressions of worker turnover...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 2181

In this paper, we investigate the effects of the boom in education on the wage structure in Europe. We use detailed information on the distribution of wages, estimated from microdata from 12 European countries from the beginning of the 1980’s to the present, to analyse the changes both between and...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 2142
published in: International Journal of Manpower, 2008, 20 (1), 8-29

Using Norwegian establishment surveys from 1997 and 2003, we show that performance-related pay is more prevalent in firms where workers of the main occupation have a high degree of autonomy in how to organize their work. This observation supports an interpretation of incentive pay as motivated by agency problems. Performance-related...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 1893

Unreported labour by one worker in a firm increases the probability of detection for his fellow workers, not only for himself. The firm takes this external effect into account. As a consequence, unreported work becomes rationed by the firms demand, rather than determined by demand equal supply. The gap between...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 1888
published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2011, 64(2), 341-355

It turns out that the employer-size effect on individual wages dwindles away once one control for the number of workers of the same skill-group (educational type) as the observed individual within the establishment. The skill-group size effect on wages is substantial. The main results, a dwindling employer size effect and...