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A Contribution to the Empirics of Reservation Wages

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  • Alan B. Krueger
  • Andreas I. Mueller

Abstract

This paper provides evidence on the behavior of reservation wages over the spell of unemployment, using high-frequency longitudinal data on unemployed workers in New Jersey. In comparison to a calibrated job search model, the reservation wage starts out too high and declines too slowly, on average, suggesting that many workers persistently misjudge their prospects or anchor their reservation wage on their previous wage. The longitudinal nature of the data also allows for testing the relationship between job acceptance and the reservation wage, where the reservation wage is measured from a previous interview to avoid bias due to cognitive dissonance. (JEL J22, J31, J64)

Suggested Citation

  • Alan B. Krueger & Andreas I. Mueller, 2016. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Reservation Wages," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 142-179, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:142-79
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20140211
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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