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A Formal Test of Assortative Matching in the Labor Market

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  • John Abowd
  • Francis Kramarz
  • Sebastien Perez-Duarte
  • Ian Schmutte

Abstract

We estimate a structural model of job assignment in the presence of coordination frictions due to Shimer (2005). The coordination friction model places restrictions on the joint distribution of worker and firm effects from a linear decomposition of log labor earnings. These restrictions permit estimation of the unobservable ability and productivity differences between workers and their employers as well as the way workers sort into jobs on the basis of these unobservable factors. The estimation is performed on matched employer-employee data from the LEHD program of the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimated correlation between worker and firm effects from the earnings decomposition is close to zero, a finding that is often interpreted as evidence that there is no sorting by comparative advantage in the labor market. Our estimates suggest that his finding actually results from a lack of sufficient heterogeneity in the workforce and available jobs. Workers do sort into jobs on the basis of productive differences, but the effects of sorting are not visible because of the composition of workers and employers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 09-40.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:09-40

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  1. Goffe, William L. & Ferrier, Gary D. & Rogers, John, 1994. "Global optimization of statistical functions with simulated annealing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 65-99.
  2. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
  3. Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Robert Shimer, 2001. "The Assignment of Workers to Jobs In an Economy with Coordination Frictions," NBER Working Papers 8501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David W. Stevens, 2002. "Employment that is not covered by state unemployment," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-16, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. John J. Abowd & John Haltiwanger & Julia Lane, 2004. "Integrated Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data for the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 224-229, May.
  8. John M. Abowd & Paul A. Lengermann & Kevin L. McKinney, 2002. "The Measurement of Human Capital in the U.S. Economy," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2003.
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Cited by:
  1. Carlsson, Mikael & Messina, Julián & Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2011. "Wage adjustment and productivity shocks," Working Paper Series 2011:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Jean-Marc Robin & Costas Meghir & Jeremy Lise, 2008. "Matching, Sorting and Wages," 2008 Meeting Papers 273, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Fredrik Andersson & Elizabeth E. Davis & Matthew L. Freedman & Julia I. Lane & Brian P. McCall & L. Kristin Sandusky, . "Decomposing the Sources of Earnings Inequality Assessing the Role of Reallocation," Working Papers 0106, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
  4. Jeremy Lise & Costas Meghir & Jean-Marc Robin, 2013. "Mismatch, Sorting and Wage Dynamics," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1886, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Andrews, M.J. & Gill, L. & Schank, T. & Upward, R., 2012. "High wage workers match with high wage firms: Clear evidence of the effects of limited mobility bias," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 824-827.
  6. Erling Barth & Bernt Bratsberg & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2011. "Immigrant Wage Profiles Within and Between Establishments," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2011019, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  7. Richard Duhautois & Fabrice Gilles & Héloïse Petit, 2012. "Worker flows and establishment wage differentials : a breakdown of the relationship," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00833872, HAL.

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