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Equilibrium Labor Turnover, Firm Growth and Unemployment

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  • Melvyn G. Coles
  • Dale T. Mortensen

Abstract

This paper considers a dynamic, non-steady state environment in which wage dispersion exists and evolves in response to shocks. Workers do not observe firm productivity and firms do not commit to future wages, but there is on-the-job search for higher paying jobs. The model allows for firm turnover (new start-up firms are created, some existing firms die) and firm specific productivity shocks. In a separating equilibrium, more productive firms signal their type by paying strictly higher wages in every state of the market. Consequently, workers always quit to firms paying a higher wage and so move efficiently from less to more productive firms. As a further implication of the cost structure assumed, endogenous firm size growth is consistent with Gibrat's law. The paper provides a complete characterization and establishes existence and uniqueness of the separating (non-steady state) equilibrium in the limiting case of equally productive firms. The existence of equilibrium with any finite number of firm types is also established. Finally, the model provides a coherent explanation of Danish manufacturing data on firm wage and labor productivity dispersion as well as the cross firm relationship between them.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18022.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18022

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References

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  1. Robert E. Lucas & Jr., 1967. "Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 321.
  2. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Klette, Tor Jakob & Kortum, Samuel S, 2002. "Innovating Firms and Aggregate Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Merz, Monika & Yashiv, Eran, 2003. "Labor and the Market Value of the Firm," IZA Discussion Papers 965, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "Directed Search on the Job, Heterogeneity, and Aggregate Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 327-32, May.
  6. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  7. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2010. "Stochastic Search Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1754, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Dale T. Mortensen & Rasmus Lentz, 2005. "An Empirical Model of Growth Through Product Innovation," 2005 Meeting Papers 910, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," Working Papers 10-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  10. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, December.
  11. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  12. Dale T. Mortensen & Bent Jesper Christensen & Jesper Bagger, 2010. "Wage and Productivity Dispersion: Labor Quality or Rent Sharing?," 2010 Meeting Papers 758, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Melvyn G. Coles, 2001. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion, Firm Size and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(1), pages 159-187, January.
  14. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Equilibrium labour turnover, firm growth and unemployment
    by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2012-04-07 19:12:02
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Cited by:
  1. Jeremy Lise & Jean-Marc Robin, 2013. "The macro-dynamics of sorting between workers and firms," IFS Working Papers W13/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Carrillo-Tudela, Carlos, 2012. "Job search, human capital and wage inequality," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-23, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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