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Equilibrium Wage Dispersion: Monopsony or Sorting?

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  • Giuseppe Moscarini

    ()
    (Department of Economics & Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.)

Abstract

Why are similar workers paid differently? I review and compare two lines of research that have recently witnessed great progress in addressing “unexplained” wage inequality: (i) worker unobserved heterogeneity in, and sorting by, human capital; (ii) firms’ monopsony power in labor markets characterized by job search frictions. Both lines share a view of wage differentials as an equilibrium phenomenon. Despite their profound conceptual and technical differences, they remain natural competitors in this investigation. Unlike other hypotheses, they provide natural and unifying explanations for job and worker flows, unemployment duration and incidence, job-to-job quits, and the shape of the wage distribution.

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Article provided by SIPI Spa in its journal Rivista di Politica Economica.

Volume (Year): 95 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (March-April)
Pages: 3-24

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Handle: RePEc:rpo:ripoec:v:95:y:2005:i:2:p:3-24

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  1. Bent Jesper Christensen & Rasmus Lentz & Dale T. Mortensen & George R. Neumann & Axel Werwatz, 2003. "On the Job Search and the Wage Distribution," CAM Working Papers 2004-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  2. Lucia Foster & John C. Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2001. "Aggregate Productivity Growth. Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 303-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1994. "On-the-job search: Some empirical evidence from Britain," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 385-401, February.
  4. Robert H. Topel, 1990. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," NBER Working Papers 3294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
  6. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  7. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1997. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," NBER Working Papers 6010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Farber, Henry S, 1994. "The Analysis of Interfirm Worker Mobility," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 554-93, October.
  12. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  13. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
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