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Wage differentials, discrimination and efficiency

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  • Shi, Shouyong

Abstract

In this paper I construct a search model of a large labor market in which workers are heterogeneous in productivity and (homogeneous) firms post wages and a ranking of workers to direct workers' search. I establish the following results. First, the wage differential is negatively related to productivity when the productivity differential is small, while a positive relationship emerges when the productivity differential is large. Second, as the productivity differential decreases to zero, the reverse wage differential increases and so it remains strictly positive in the limit. Third, high-productivity workers are not discriminated against even when they have a lower wage, because they always have a higher priority in employment and higher expected wage than low-productivity workers. Fourth, the equilibrium is socially efficient, and so the wage differential and the ranking are part of the efficient mechanism. Finally, I provide numerical examples to illustrate the wage distribution.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 50 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 849-875

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:50:y:2006:i:4:p:849-875

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  1. Audra J. Bowlus & Zvi Eckstein, 1998. "Discrimination and Skill Differences in an Equilibrium Search Model," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-112/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," Working papers 98-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Shi, Shouyong, 2001. "Frictional Assignment. I. Efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 232-260, June.
  4. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
  5. Kevin Lang & Michael Manove & William T. Dickens, 2005. "Racial Discrimination in Labor Markets with Posted Wage Offers," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-145, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  6. Benoit Julien & John Kennes & Ian King, 2000. "Bidding for Labor," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 619-649, October.
  7. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-79, December.
  8. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
  9. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
  10. Black, Dan A, 1995. "Discrimination in an Equilibrium Search Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 309-33, April.
  11. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  12. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  13. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Kevin Lang & Michael Manove & William T. Dickens, 2005. "Racial Discrimination in Labor Markets with Posted Wage Offers," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-145, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. John Kennes, 2004. "Competitive Auctions: Theory and Application," Discussion Papers 04-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Kaas, Leo & Zink, Stefan, 2011. "Human capital investment with competitive labor search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 520-534, May.
  4. Kaas, Leo & Lu, Jun, 2009. "Equal-Treatment Policy in a Random Search Model with Taste Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 4173, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Merlino, Luca Paolo, 2012. "Discrimination, technology and unemployment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 557-567.
  6. John Kennes & Daniel le Maire, 2010. "Coordination Frictions and Job Heterogeneity: A Discrete Time Analysis," Economics Working Papers 2010-05, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  7. Bi, Sheng & Langot, Fran├žois, 2014. "Search and Retirement under Asymmetric Information," IZA Discussion Papers 8288, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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