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Informal versus Formal Search: Which Yields a Better Pay?

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  • Tumen, Semih

Abstract

Estimates on the effect of job contact method -- i.e., informal versus formal search -- on wage offers vary considerably across studies, with some of them finding a positive correlation between getting help from informal connections and obtaining high-paying jobs, while others finding a negative one. In this paper, I investigate the sources of discrepancies in these empirical results. Using a formal job search framework, I derive an equilibrium wage distribution which reveals that the informal search yields for some groups higher and for some others lower wages than formal search. The key result is the existence of nonmonotonicities in wage offers. Two potential sources of these nonmonotonicities exist: (i) peer effects and (ii) unobserved worker heterogeneity in terms of the inherent cost of maintaining connections within a productive informal network. The model predicts that a greater degree of unobserved heterogeneity tilts the estimates toward producing a positive correlation between informal search and higher wages, whereas stronger peer influences tend to yield a negative correlation. This conclusion informs the empirical research in the sense that identification of the true correlation between job contact methods and wage offers requires a careful assessment of the unobserved heterogeneity and peer influences in the relevant sample.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 50446.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:50446

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Keywords: Job search; informal networks; peer effects; heterogeneity; nonmonotonicities.;

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References

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  1. Samuel Bentolila & Claudio Michelacci & Javier Suarez, 2004. "Social Contacts And Occupational Choice," Working Papers wp2004_06, CEMFI.
  2. Zaharieva, Anna, 2013. "Social welfare and wage inequality in search equilibrium with personal contacts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 107-121.
  3. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2004. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects, and Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1056-1093, December.
  4. Patrick Bayer & Stephen Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 11019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Marmaros, David & Sacerdote, Bruce, 2002. "Peer and social networks in job search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 870-879, May.
  7. Fontaine, Francois, 2005. "Why Are Similar Workers Paid Differently? The Role of Social Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 1786, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. René Böheim & Mark P Taylor, 2002. "Job search methods, intensity and success in Britain in the 1990s," Economics working papers 2002-06, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  9. Saloner, Garth, 1985. "Old Boy Networks as Screening Mechanisms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 255-67, July.
  10. H. Peyton Young, 1996. "The Economics of Convention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 105-122, Spring.
  11. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro, 1998. "Job Search Methods and Outcomes," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-41, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Zaharieva, Anna, 2013. "Double Matching: Social Contacts in a Labour Market with On-the-Job Search," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79891, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  13. Antoninis, Manos, 2006. "The wage effects from the use of personal contacts as hiring channels," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 133-146, January.
  14. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Luigi Pistaferri, 1999. "Informal Networks in the Italian Labor Market," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 58(3-4), pages 355-375, December.
  16. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-18, December.
  17. Michele Pellizzari, 2004. "Do Friends and Relatives Really Help in Getting a Good Job?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0623, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  18. Linda Datcher Loury, 2006. "Some Contacts Are More Equal than Others: Informal Networks, Job Tenure, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 299-318, April.
  19. Mortensen, D. T. & Vishwanath, T., 1995. "Personal contacts and earnings: It is who you know!," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 103-104, March.
  20. Simon, Curtis J & Warner, John T, 1992. "Matchmaker, Matchmaker: The Effect of Old Boy Networks on Job Match Quality, Earnings, and Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 306-30, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Yuliia Stupnytska, 2014. "Explaining the U-Shape of the Referral Hiring Pattern in a Search Model with Heterogeneous Workers," Working Papers 511, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  2. Anna Zaharieva, 2012. "Double Matching: Social Contacts in a Labour Market with On-the-Job Search," Working Papers 473, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.

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