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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
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  1. Margaret Stevens, 2000. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Economics Series Working Papers 2000-W10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1984. "Matching, Turnover, and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 108-22, February.
  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353892, HAL.
  8. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1997. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," NBER Working Papers 6010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Giuseppe Moscarini, 2005. "Job Matching and the Wage Distribution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 481-516, 03.
  10. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, 09.
  11. Iourii Manovskii & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2004. "Occupational Specificity of Human Capital," 2004 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. 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.
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