In one answer in this great discussion on efficiency wages it is claimed the reason that efficiency wages fell out of fashion is that we can't measure it in normal data. I agree that it is difficult to work on this, but disagree that it is impossible. I know some papers that do and would like to open this thread to crowdsource further examples of papers that do manage to answers empirical questions related to efficiency wages using observational data. Having examples of papers that do this might help to know what kind of data and design is needed to tackle this.

Here is the start:

Raff, D. M., & Summers, L. H. (1987). Did Henry Ford pay efficiency wages?. journal of Labor Economics, 5(4, Part 2), S57-S86.

Cappelli, P., & Chauvin, K. (1991). An interplant test of the efficiency wage hypothesis. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106(3), 769-787.

This is maybe more related to reference-dependent wages but the approach is still relevant Camerer, C., Babcock, L., Loewenstein, G., & Thaler, R. (1997). Labor supply of New York City cabdrivers: One day at a time. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(2), 407-441.


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I unfortunately only know one (but very fine) paper, which estimates efficiency wages implicitly (it could also represent trade-union monopoly power, as both notions are quite difficult to identify separately):

Sabien Dobbelaere and Jacques Mairesse, 2013, "Panel Data Estimates of the Production Function and Product and Labor Market Imperfections", Journal of Applied Econometrics, 28, 1-46.

See also its list of references.

Edit: I almost forgot to mention that there is a quite large experimental economics literature on efficiency wages (and related topics on conflicting incentives), see for instance:
Charness, G., R. Cobo-Reyes, N. Jimenez, J. A. Lacomba, and F. Lagos, 2012, "The hidden advantage of delegation: Pareto improvements in a gift exchange game," American Economic Review, 102, 2358-79.


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