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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. Gerard J. van den Berg, 1998. "Empirical Inference with Equilibrium Search Models of the Labor Market," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-089/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Berg, G.J. & Ridder, G., 1993. "An empirical equilibrium search model of the labour market," Serie Research Memoranda 0039, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  7. Diamond, Peter, 1987. "Consumer Differences and Prices in a Search Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 429-36, May.
  8. Gaumont, Damien & Schindler, Martin & Wright, Randall, 2006. "Alternative theories of wage dispersion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 831-848, May.
  9. 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.
  10. MacMinn, Richard D, 1980. "Job Search and the Labor Dropout Problem Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 69-87, August.
  11. Eckstein, Zvi & Mortensen, Dale T., 2006. "Labor search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 807-810, May.
  12. Damien Gaumont & Martin Schindler & Randall Wright, 2006. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion: An Example," 2006 Meeting Papers 147, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
  14. Postel-Vinay & Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Working Papers 155908, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  15. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
  16. Rob, Rafael, 1985. "Equilibrium Price Distributions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 487-504, July.
  17. 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.
  18. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  19. Elisabeth Curtis & Randall Wright, 2002. "Price setting, price dispersion, and the value of money - or - The law of two prices," Working Paper 0209, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  20. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2007. "Empirical labor search: A survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 531-564, February.
  21. 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.
  22. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  23. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. P. Diamond, 1980. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment and Efficiency," Working papers 257, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  27. Albrecht, James W & Vroman, Susan B, 1992. "Non-existence of Single-Wage Equilibria in Search Models with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 617-24, July.
  28. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/dc0ckec3fcb, Sciences Po.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Gerard J. van den Berg, 1998. "Empirical Inference with Equilibrium Search Models of the Labor Market," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-089/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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