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Identifying Sorting--In Theory

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  • Jan Eeckhout
  • Philipp Kircher

Abstract

Assortative matching between workers and firms provides evidence of the complementarities or substitutes in production. The presence of complementarities is important for policies that aim to achieve the optimal allocation of resources, e.g. unemployment insurance. We argue that using wage data alone, it is virtually impossible to identify whether assortative matching is positive or negative. Even though we cannot identify the sign of the sorting, we can identify the strength, i.e. the magnitude of the cross-partial and the associated welfare loss. We first show that the wage for a given worker is non-monotonic in the type of his employer. This is due to the fact that in a sorting model, wages reflect the opportunity cost of mismatch. We analytically show that this non-monotonicity prevents standard firm fixed effects to correlate with the true type of the firm. We then propose an alternative procedure that measures the strength of sorting in the presence of search frictions. Knowing the strength of sorting facilitates the measurement of the output loss due to mismatch. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 78 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 872-906

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:78:y:2011:i:3:p:872-906

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  1. Dupuy Arnaud, 2011. "Sorting on Skills and Preferences: Tinbergen Meets Sattinger," ROA Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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  15. Ivar Ekeland & James Heckman & Lars Nesheim, 2002. "Identifying hedonic models," CeMMAP working papers CWP06/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Rasmus Lentz & Jesper Bagger, 2009. "An Empirical Model of Wage Dispersion with Sorting," 2009 Meeting Papers 964, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Shouyong Shi, 1998. "Frictional Assignment," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 74, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  18. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  19. Gérard VAN DEN BERG & Aïco VAN VUUREN, 2002. "Using Firm Data to Assess the Performance of Equilibrium Search Models of the Labor Market," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 67-68, pages 227-256.
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