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Wage/tenure contracts with heterogeneous firms

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  • Burdett, Ken
  • Coles, Melvyn

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn, 2010. "Wage/tenure contracts with heterogeneous firms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1408-1435, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:145:y:2010:i:4:p:1408-1435
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2011. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 468-510.
    2. 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.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & Shimer, Robert, 1999. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 827-849, November.
    4. Shouyong Shi, 2009. "Directed Search for Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 561-584, March.
    5. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, September.
    6. Alain Delacroix & Shouyong Shi, 2006. "Directed Search On The Job And The Wage Ladder," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 651-699, May.
    7. Margaret Stevens, 2004. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 535-551.
    8. Léonard,Daniel & Long,Ngo van, 1992. "Optimal Control Theory and Static Optimization in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521331586, December.
    9. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    10. 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 257-273, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Doniger, Cynthia L., 2015. "Wage Dispersion with Heterogeneous Wage Contracts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-23, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Ken Burdett & Carlos Carrillo-Tudela & Melvyn Coles, 2016. "Wage Inequality: A Structural Decomposition," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 19, pages 20-37, January.
    3. Eric Smith & Carlos Carrillo Tudela, 2007. "Wage Dispersion and Wage Dynamics Within and Across Firms," 2007 Meeting Papers 615, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Amanda Gosling & Mathan Satchi, 2014. "Separation incentives and minimum wages in a job-posting search framework," Studies in Economics 1401, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    5. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Wright, Randall, 2010. "Introduction to Search Theory and Applications," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1319-1324, July.
    6. Xiao, Chaoqun & Tang, Wansheng & Zhao, Ruiqing & Zhou, Chi, 2013. "Equilibrium search with heterogeneous firms, workers and endogenous human capital," MPRA Paper 52136, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Rasmus Lentz, 2014. "Optimal Employment Contracts with Hidden Search," NBER Working Papers 19988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Fang, Zheng & Sakellariou, Chris, 2015. "Discrimination or Unobserved Differences in Characteristics?-An Empirical Study on Wage Inequality," MPRA Paper 68568, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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