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Alternative theories of wage dispersion

  • Gaumont, Damien
  • Schindler, Martin
  • Wright, Randall

We analyze labor market models where the law of one price does not hold; i.e., models with equilibrium wage dispersion. We begin assuming workers are ex ante heterogeneous, and highlight a flaw with this approach: if search is costly, the market shuts down. We then assume workers are homogeneous but matches are ex post heterogeneous. This model is robust to search costs, and delivers equilibria equilibrium wage dispersion. However, we prove the law of two prices holds: generically we cannot get more than two wages. We explore several other models, including one combining ex ante and ex post heterogeneity; this model is robust, and can deliver more than two-point wage distributions.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 50 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 831-848

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:50:y:2006:i:4:p:831-848
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. 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.
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  3. Rafael Rob, 1985. "Equilibrium Price Distributions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 487-504.
  4. Ken Burdett & Randall Wright, 1998. "Two-Sided Search with Nontransferable Utility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 220-245, January.
  5. Gerard J. van den Berg & Geert Ridder, 1998. "An Empirical Equilibrium Search Model of the Labor Market," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1183-1222, September.
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  8. Curtis, Elisabeth & Wright, Randall, 2004. "Price setting, price dispersion, and the value of money: or, the law of two prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1599-1621, November.
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  11. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1984. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 824-40, October.
  12. Gaumont Damien & Schindler Martin & Wright Randall, 2006. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion: An Example," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-18, October.
  13. Masters, Adrian M, 1999. "Wage Posting in Two-Sided Search and the Minimum Wage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 809-26, November.
  14. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2002. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2003.
  15. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  16. P. Diamond, 1980. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment and Efficiency," Working papers 257, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
  18. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415.
  19. Albrecht, James & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1985. "The Efficiency of Search Under Competition and Monopsony," Working Papers 85-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  20. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1990. "Estimating a Market Equilibrium Search Model from Panel Data on Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 783-808, July.
  21. Jafarey, Saqib & Masters, Adrian, 2003. " Output, Prices, and the Velocity of Money in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 871-88, December.
  22. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  23. James W. Albrecht & Susan B. Vroman, 1992. "Non-Existence of Single-Wage Equilibria in Search Models with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 617-624.
  24. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  25. Eckstein, Zvi & Mortensen, Dale T., 2006. "Labor search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 807-810, May.
  26. Albrecht, James W & Vroman, Susan B, 1998. "Nash Equilibrium Efficiency Wage Distributions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 183-203, February.
  27. Damien Gaumont & Martin Schindler & Randall Wright, 2005. "Alternative Theories of Wage Dispersion," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-017, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  28. Richard D. MacMinn, 1980. "Job Search and the Labor Dropout Problem Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(1), pages 69-87.
  29. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  30. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
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