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Information channels in labor markets: On the resilience of referral hiring

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  • Casella, Alessandra
  • Hanaki, Nobuyuki

Abstract

Economists and sociologists disagree over markets' potential to substitute for personal connections. We study a model of labor markets where social ties are stronger between similar individuals, and firms prefer to rely on personal referrals than to hire on the open market. Workers in the market can take a costly action that can signal their productivity. The paper asks whether signaling reduces the reliance on the network. We find that the network is remarkably resilient. Signaling is caught in two contradictory requirements: to be informative it must be expensive, but if it expensive it can be undercut by the network.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (June)
Pages: 492-513

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:66:y:2008:i:3-4:p:492-513

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References

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  1. Michele Pellizzari, 2004. "Do Friends and Relatives Really Help in Getting a Good Job?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0623, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Luigi Pistaferri, 1999. "Informal Networks in the Italian Labor Market," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 58(3-4), pages 355-375, December.
  3. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-18, December.
  4. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2002. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects and Inequality," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0217, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  5. Kranton, Rachel E, 1996. "Reciprocal Exchange: A Self-Sustaining System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 830-51, September.
  6. Saloner, Garth, 1985. "Old Boy Networks as Screening Mechanisms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 255-67, July.
  7. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  9. Javier Suarez & Samuel Bentolila & Claudio Michelacci, 2004. "Social Contacts and Occupational Choice," 2004 Meeting Papers 593, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Mortensen, D. T. & Vishwanath, T., 1995. "Personal contacts and earnings: It is who you know!," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 103-104, March.
  11. Holzer, Harry J, 1988. "Search Method Use by Unemployed Youth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, January.
  12. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  13. Tassier, Troy & Menczer, Filippo, 2008. "Social network structure, segregation, and equality in a labor market with referral hiring," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 514-528, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2011. "Personnel Economics: Hiring and Incentives," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  2. Nicodemo, Catia & Nicolini, Rosella, 2012. "Random or Referral Hiring: When Social Connections Matter," IZA Discussion Papers 6312, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. repec:cge:warwcg:89 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Avner Ben-Ner & Matthew Ellman, 2013. "The contributions of behavioural economics to understanding and advancing the sustainability of worker cooperatives," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 2(1), pages 75-100, August.
  5. Alessandra Casella & Nobuyuki Hanaki, 2006. "Why Personal Ties Cannot Be Bought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 261-264, May.

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