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Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency

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  • Michael Waldman

Abstract

This article analyzes a model in which information about a worker's ability is only directly revealed to the firm employing the worker; other firms, however, use the worker's job assignment as a signal of ability. Three results recur throughout the analysis. First, wage rates tend to be more closely associated with jobs than with ability levels. Second, there is frequently an inefficient assignment of workers to jobs (i.e., even when a firm has complete information about a worker's output). Third, the severity of this inefficiency tends to be negatively correlated with the level of firm-specific human capital in the economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (1984)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
Pages: 255-267

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:15:y:1984:i:summer:p:255-267

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  1. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
  2. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1981. "Contractual Models of the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 308-13, May.
  3. Oliver E. Williamson & Michael L. Wachter & Jeffrey E. Harris, 1975. "Understanding the Employment Relation: The Analysis of Idiosyncratic Exchange," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(1), pages 250-278, Spring.
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  5. Reinhard Selten, 1974. "Reexamination of the Perfectness Concept for Equilibrium Points in Extensive Games," Working Papers 023, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  6. Medoff, James L & Abraham, Katharine G, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-36, December.
  7. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  8. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
  9. Stephen Ross & Paul Taubman & Michael L. Wachter, 1981. "Learning by Observing and the Distribution of Wages," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 359-386 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Salop, Joanne & Salop, Steven, 1976. "Self-Selection and Turnover in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 619-27, November.
  11. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  12. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  13. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1998. "Limit Pricing and Entry Under Incomplete Information: An Equilibrium Analysis," Levine's Working Paper Archive 245, David K. Levine.
  14. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
  15. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Discussion Papers 488, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  17. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
  18. Prescott, Edward C & Visscher, Michael, 1980. "Organization Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 446-61, June.
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