Anna Thoresson defends her thesis


Anna Thoresson defends her thesis Wages and their impact on individuals, households and firms on Friday 29th of January at 09:15 in Lecture Hall 2 at Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala. Please note that there will be a limited number of seats as the defence is a digital event.

Anna Thoresson

The thesis studies key determinants and consequences of wages. It finds that competition between firms can influence wages positively, and that the place of work matters for wages while access to good firms is unevenly distributed across workers. Moreover, policy interventions have the ability to influence wages for workers as well as their choice of workplace. They can also have repercussions beyond the labor market such as influencing household equality.

Discussant is Associate Professor Ana Rute Cardoso, Institute for Economic Analysis (IAE-CSIC) and the grading committee members are Professor Dan-Olof Rooth, SOFI, Stockholms University, Professor Helena Svaleryd, Department of Economics, Uppsala university and Associate Professor Olle Folke, Department of Government, Uppsala university.

Advisors are Professor Lena Hensvik, Department of Economics, Uppsala university and Professor Oskar Nordström Skans, Department of Economics, Uppsala university.


Essay I: This paper studies how wages respond to employer concentration. It exploits a reform that deregulated the Swedish pharmacy market, which until 2009 was a monopoly. The reform involved a substantial increase in the number of employers on the pharmacy labor market. However, the change in employer concentration was not geographically uniform: certain areas experienced large changes while others were largely unaffected. Exploiting this geographical variation, elasticities of wages with respect to labor market concentration are estimated to be between -0.02 and -0.05. The empirical approach relies only on the variation in concentration controlled by the policymaker to remedy the concern that actual labor market concentration is endogenous. The positive wage effects from reduced labor market concentration are found to be most prevalent for stayers, rather than new hires, as well as those with more industry experience and longer tenure. Overall, the paper adds to a growing literature that finds that market concentration matters for workers' wages, in a context where labor is highly industry-specific.

Essay II (with Olof Åslund, Cristina Bratu and Stefano Lombardi): This paper studies the role of firm productivity in explaining earnings differences between immigrants and natives in Sweden. We first show that firms with higher value added per worker pay higher earnings and document that immigrant workers are under-represented in high-productive firms relative to natives. Next, we estimate substantial positive earnings returns to working in more productive firms, with significantly larger returns for immigrants from non-Western countries. We also find that immigrants are less likely to move up the firm productivity distribution. Sorting into less productive firms thus decreases earnings in poor-performing immigrant groups that would gain the most from firm productivity. The results are consistent with firms having differential wage-setting power over immigrants and natives.

Essay III (with Erik Grönqvist and Lena Hensvik): We study the effects of introducing a performance-based promotion program for teachers in Sweden. The program intended to make the teaching profession more attractive by raising wages for skilled teachers and taking advantage of teachers' professional competence. Our results show that: (i) high-wage teachers are more likely to be promoted; (ii) the stipulated wage increase has full pass-through onto wages for promoted teachers; (iii) schools with promotions have lower teacher separations and an improved pool of teachers; (iv) the promotion program improved student performance. These results suggest that performance-based promotions could be an important tool for raising school quality.

Essay IV (with Erik Grönqvist and Lena Hensvik): This paper studies the impact of a substantial change in household relative wage on the reallocation of childcare time across parents. Our empirical strategy takes advantage of a promotion program for teachers, which led to a sudden and persistent 20 percent wage increase for the promoted spouse and a 32 percent decrease in the couple's gender wage gap (reflecting the higher promotion rate of the female spouses). Our findings suggest that female promotions lead to a more even division of childcare and that the change in bargaining power of the promoted spouse is a contributing mechanism behind the effect. Overall, these findings suggest that improved career opportunities for women can improve gender equality in the household.

Download the thesis from Diva here