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Great Expectations: Past Wages and Unemployment Durations

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  • René Böheim
  • Gerard Thomas Horvath
  • Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

Abstract

Decomposing wages into worker and firm wage components, we find that firm-fixed components (firm rents) are sizeable parts of workers' wages. If workers can only imperfectly observe the extent of firm rents in their wages, they might be mislead about the overall wage distribution. Such misperceptions may lead to unjustified high reservation wages, resulting in overly long unemployment durations. We examine the infuence of previous wages on unemployment durations for workers after exogenous lay-offs and, using Austrian administrative data, we find that younger workers are, in fact, unemployed longer if they profited from high firm rents in the past. We interpret our findings as evidence for overconfidence generated by imperfectly observed productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2010-07.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2010_07

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Postal: NRN Labor Economics and the Welfare State, c/o Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Altenbergerstr. 69, 4040 Linz
Phone: +43-732-2468-8216
Fax: +43-732-2468-8217
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Web page: http://www.labornrn.at/
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Related research

Keywords: Unemployment; Job Search; Overconfidence;

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References

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  1. Lalive, R. & Ours, J.C. van & Zweimüller, J., 2004. "How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment," Discussion Paper 2004-86, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Worker overconfidence and unemployment duration
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-09-22 14:05:00
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Cited by:
  1. Michèle A. Weynandt, 2014. "Selective Firing and Lemons," NRN working papers 2014-05, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

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