IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Job Market Signaling Of Relative Position, Or Becker Married To Spence

  • Ed Hopkins

We consider a matching model of the labour market where workers that differ in quality send signals to firms that are also vertically differentiated. Signals allow assortative matching in which the highest quality workers send the highest signals and are hired by the best firms. Matching is consider both when wages are fixed (non-transferable utility) and when they are fully flexible (utility is transferable). In both cases payoffs are determined by relative position - the best worker gets the best job. The standard signalling model which communicates the signaller's absolute type is a special case of the current model of signalling relative position. Furthermore, in the relative model, equilibrium strategies and payoffs depend on the distributions of types of workers and the distribution of firms. This is in contrast with separating equilibria of the standard model which do not respond to changes in supply or demand. Despite incomplete information, equilibrium investment in education by low ability workers can be inefficiently low.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 10 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 290-322

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:2:p:290-322
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Valerie Ramey & Garey Ramey, 2009. "The Rug Rat Race," 2009 Meeting Papers 431, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Eeckhout, Jan, 2000. "On the uniqueness of stable marriage matchings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-8, October.
  3. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, . "Efficient Non-Contractible Investments in Large Economies," Penn CARESS Working Papers e9e0aca257b20d3bb6bb4a52a, Penn Economics Department.
  4. Frank, Robert H, 1997. "The Frame of Reference as a Public Good," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1832-47, November.
  5. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2007. "Beauty Is a Beast, Frog Is a Prince: Assortative Matching with Nontransferabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1073-1102, 07.
  6. Peters, Michael, 2004. "The Pre-Marital Investment Game," working papers peters-04-02-18-01-42-09, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 13 Sep 2006.
  7. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  8. Hopkins, Ed & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2009. "Status, affluence, and inequality: Rank-based comparisons in games of status," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 552-568, November.
  9. Fernandez, Raquel & Gali, Jordi, 1997. "To Each According to ...?: Markets, Tournaments, and The Matching Problem with Borrowing Constraints," Working Papers 97-11, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  10. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, . "Efficient Non-Contractible Investments," Penn CARESS Working Papers 08d6793d32cab8f6e1f46dac0, Penn Economics Department.
  11. Hoppe, Heidrun C. & Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2006. "The Theory of Assortative Matching Based on Costly Signals," CEPR Discussion Papers 5543, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2008. "Which Inequality? The Inequality of Endowments Versus the Inequality of Rewards," ESE Discussion Papers 185, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  13. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
  14. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
  15. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, . "Class Systems and the Enforcement of Social Norms," Penn CARESS Working Papers bdb2c3969ad56e98068513c7c, Penn Economics Department.
  16. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  17. Michael Peters & Aloysius Siow, 2001. "Competing Premarital Investment," Working Papers peters-01-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  18. Spence, Michael, 1974. "Competitive and optimal responses to signals: An analysis of efficiency and distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 296-332, March.
  19. Sattinger, Michael, 1979. "Differential Rents and the Distribution of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(1), pages 60-71, March.
  20. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
  21. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, . ""Incorporating Concern for Relative Wealth into Economic Models''," CARESS Working Papres 95-14, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  22. Jonathan Levin & Jeremy Bulow, 2004. "Matching and Price Competition," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 350, Econometric Society.
  23. Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1993. "Design Innovation and Fashion Cycles," Discussion Papers 1049, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  24. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2006. "Contest architecture," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 70-96, January.
  25. Robert M. Costrell & Glenn C. Loury, 2004. "Distribution of Ability and Earnings in a Hierarchical Job Assignment Model," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-135, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  26. Alvin E. Roth, 2002. "The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1341-1378, July.
  27. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Rege, Mari, 2008. "Why do people care about social status?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 233-242, May.
  29. Paul Oyer, 2006. "Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 143-160, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:2:p:290-322. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.