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Direct Tests of the Reservation Wage Property


  • Cox, James C
  • Oaxaca, Ronald L


This paper provides the first direct experimental tests of the reservation wages predicted by finite horizon job search models. Previous indirect tests were based on search duration and search income. The authors show that such indirect tests are weak by demonstrating that a naive rule performs essentially as well as the risk neutral model in predicting search duration. In contrast, direct tests of predicted reservation wages imply rejections of both the naive rule and the risk neutral model. The general concave model survives direct tests with reservation wage data, as does a specific (logistic) concave model. Copyright 1992 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Cox, James C & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1992. "Direct Tests of the Reservation Wage Property," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1423-1432, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:102:y:1992:i:415:p:1423-32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467-467.
    2. Ermisch, John & Westaway, Peter, 1994. "The Dynamics of Aggregate Consumption in an Open Economy Life Cycle Model," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 41(2), pages 113-127, May.
    3. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boone, Jan & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & van Ours, Jan C., 2009. "Experiments on unemployment benefit sanctions and job search behavior," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 937-951, November.
    2. Bayer, Ralph-C. & Ke, Changxia, 2013. "Discounts and consumer search behavior: The role of framing," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 215-224.
    3. Voxi Heinrich Amavilah, 2003. "Resource Inefficiency and Poor Aggregate Economic Performance in African Countries: The Case of Namibia, 1968-1992," Development and Comp Systems 0307005, EconWPA.
    4. Dubois, Pierre & Vukina, Tomislav, 2009. "Optimal incentives under moral hazard and heterogeneous agents: Evidence from production contracts data," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 489-500, July.
    5. Daniel Houser & Michael Keane & Kevin McCabe, 2004. "Behavior in a Dynamic Decision Problem: An Analysis of Experimental Evidence Using a Bayesian Type Classification Algorithm," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 781-822, May.
    6. Aalbers, Rob & van der Heijden, Eline & Potters, Jan & van Soest, Daan & Vollebergh, Herman, 2009. "Technology adoption subsidies: An experiment with managers," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 431-442, May.
    7. Daniel Friedman & Kai Pommerenke & Rajan Lukose & Garrett Milam & Bernardo Huberman, 2007. "Searching for the sunk cost fallacy," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(1), pages 79-104, March.
    8. James Cox & Ronald Oaxaca, 2000. "Good News and Bad News: Search from Unknown Wage Offer Distributions," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 197-225, March.
    9. repec:pit:wpaper:334 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Pannenberg, Markus, 2007. "Risk Aversion and Reservation Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 2806, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Sonnemans, Joep, 2000. "Decisions and strategies in a sequential search experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 91-102, February.
    12. Christopher Anderson, 2012. "Ambiguity aversion in multi-armed bandit problems," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(1), pages 15-33, January.
    13. Nicolas Jacquemet & Olivier L’Haridon & Isabelle Vialle, 2014. "Marché du travail, évaluation et économie expérimentale," Revue française d'économie, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 189-226.
    14. Feri, Francesco & Gantner, Anita, 2011. "Bargaining or searching for a better price? - An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 376-399, June.
    15. Takao Asano & Hiroko Okudaira & Masaru Sasaki, 2015. "An experimental test of a search model under ambiguity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(4), pages 627-637, December.
    16. Jung, Seeun & Choe, Chung & Oaxaca, Ronald L., 2016. "Gender Wage Gaps and Risky vs. Secure Employment: An Experimental Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 10132, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Marcela Ibanez & Simon Czermak & Matthias Sutter, "undated". "Searching for a better deal ? On the influence of group decision making, time pressure and gender in a search experiment," Working Papers 2008-05, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    18. Rafael Tenorio & Timothy N. Cason, 2002. "To Spin or Not to Spin? Natural and Laboratory Experiments from "The Price is Right"," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 170-195, January.
    19. Wayne Edwards & Lee Huskey, 2008. "Job search with an external opportunity: an experimental exploration of the Todaro Paradox," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 42(4), pages 807-819, December.
    20. Takao Asano & Hiroko Okudaira & Masaru Sasaki, 2015. "An Experimental Test of a Search Model under Ambiguity," KIER Working Papers 913, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    21. Sonnemans, Joep, 1998. "Strategies of search," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 309-332, April.
    22. Paul Viefers & Philipp Strack, 2014. "Too Proud to Stop: Regret in Dynamic Decisions," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1401, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    23. Wayne Edwards & Lee Huskey, 2014. "The search goes on: Parameter effects on the return migration decision," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 11(1), pages 79-89, January.
    24. Pannenberg, Markus, 2010. "Risk attitudes and reservation wages of unemployed workers: Evidence from panel data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 223-226, March.

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