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A Formal Test of Assortative Matching in the Labor Market

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  • John M. Abowd
  • Francis Kramarz
  • Sébastien Pérez-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 this 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15546.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15546

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  1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-23, CIRANO.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  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. 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.
  2. Barth, Erling & Bratsberg, Bernt & Raaum, Oddbjørn, 2012. "Immigrant wage profiles within and between establishments," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 541-556.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Andersson, Fredrik & Davis, Elizabeth E. & Freedman, Matthew L. & Lane, Julia & McCall, Brian P. & Sandusky, L. Kristin, 2011. "Decomposing the Sources of Earnings Inequality: Assessing the Role of Reallocation," IZA Discussion Papers 6182, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Carlsson, Mikael & Messin, Julián & Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2011. "Wage adjustment and productivity shocks," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2011:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  7. Jean-Marc Robin & Costas Meghir & Jeremy Lise, 2009. "Matching, Sorting and Wages," 2009 Meeting Papers 180, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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