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Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity

Author

Listed:
  • Fabien Postel-Vinay

    () (INRA, Centre Paris-Jourdan and CEPR, London)

  • Jean-Marc Robin

    () (INRA, Centre Paris-Jourdan, CREST-INSEE, Malakoff, France and CEPR, London)

Abstract

We construct and estimate an equilibrium search model with on-the-job-search. Firms make take-it-or-leave-it wage offers to workers conditional on their characteristics and they can respond to the outside job offers received by their employees. Unobserved worker productive heterogeneity is introduced in the form of cross-worker differences in a "competence" parameter. On the other side of the market, firms also are heterogeneous with respect to their marginal productivity of labor. The model delivers a theory of steady-state wage dispersion driven by heterogenous worker abilities and firm productivities, as well as by matching frictions. The structural model is estimated using matched employer and employee French panel data. The exogenous distributions of worker and firm heterogeneity components are nonparametrically estimated. We use this structural estimation to provide a decomposition of cross-employee wage variance. We find that the share of the cross-sectional wage variance that is explained by person effects varies across skill groups. Specifically, this share lies close to 40% for high-skilled white collars, and quickly decreases to 0% as the observed skill level decreases. The contribution of market imperfections to wage dispersion is typically around 50%. Copyright The Econometric Society 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:70:y:2002:i:6:p:2295-2350
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "The Distribution of Earnings in an Equilibrium Search Model with State-Dependent Offers and Counteroffers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 989-1016, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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