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Wage/tenure contracts with heterogeneous firms

  • Burdett, Ken
  • Coles, Melvyn

This paper investigates equilibria where firms post wage/tenure contracts and risk averse workers search for new job opportunities whether employed or unemployed. We generalize previous work by assuming firms have different productivities. Equilibrium implies more productive firms always offer more desirable contracts. Thus workers never quit from more productive firms for less productive firms. Nevertheless turnover is inefficient as employees with long tenures at low productivity firms may reject outside job offers from more productive firms. A worker who quits to a more productive firm may accept a wage cut. Such wage cuts are compensated by faster "promotion" rates to higher wage levels in the future. We also generalize previous arguments by showing equilibria exist where the distribution of offers contains interior mass points and find equilibrium wage/tenure contracts need not be smooth.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 145 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 1408-1435

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:145:y:2010:i:4:p:1408-1435
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1984. "Matching, Turnover, and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 108-22, February.
  2. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 2005. "Do wages rise with job seniority? A reassessment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 370-397, April.
  3. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage bargaining with on-the-job search: theory and evidence," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/dc0ckec3fcb, Sciences Po.
  4. Margaret Stevens, 2004. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 535-551, 04.
  5. Giuseppe Moscarini, 2005. "Job Matching and the Wage Distribution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 481-516, 03.
  6. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & Van den Berg, Gerard J, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model with Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1039-74, November.
  7. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," NBER Working Papers 4917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1992. "The Effects of Labor Market Experience, Job Seniority, and Job Mobility on Wage Growth," NBER Working Papers 4133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Abraham, Katharine G & Farber, Henry S, 1987. "Job Duration, Seniority, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 278-97, June.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521331586 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Albrecht, James & Axell, Bo, 1983. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Working Papers 83-10, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  12. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
  13. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, 09.
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