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Simultaneous search with heterogeneous firms and ex post competition

  • Gautier, Pieter A.
  • Wolthoff, Ronald P.

In this paper we study the allocation of workers over high and low productivity firms in a labor market with coordination frictions. Specifically, we consider a search model where workers can apply to high and or low productivity firms. Firms that compete for the same candidate can increase their wage offers as often as they like. We show that if workers apply to two jobs, there is a unique symmetric equilibrium where workers mix between sending both applications to the high and sending both to the low productivity sector. But, efficiency requires that they apply to both sectors because a higher matching rate in the high-productivity sector can then be realized with fewer applications (and consequently fewer coordination frictions) if workers always accept the offer of the most productive firm. However, in the market the worker's payoff is determined by how much the firm with the second highest productivity is willing to bid. This is what prevents them from applying to both sectors. For many configurations, the equilibrium outcomes are the same under directed and random search so our results are not driven by random search. We discuss the effects of increasing the number of applications and show that our results can easily be generalized to N-firms.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 311-319

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:3:p:311-319
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  1. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  2. Manolis Galenianos & Philipp Kircher, 2009. "Directed search with multiple job applications," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 29702, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Julien, B. & Kennes, J. & King, I., 1998. "Bidding for Labour," Discussion Papers dp98-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  4. Hector Chade & Lones Smith, 2006. "Simultaneous Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1293-1307, 09.
  5. James Albrecht & Pieter Gautier, 2004. "Equilibrium Directed Search with Multiple Applications," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 330, Econometric Society.
  6. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  7. Postel-Vinay & Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Working Papers 155908, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  8. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
  9. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Assignment of Workers to Jobs in an Economy with Coordination Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 996-1025, October.
  10. Gautier, Pieter A. & Moraga-González, José L., 2004. "Strategic Wage Setting and Coordination Frictions with Multiple Applications," IZA Discussion Papers 1260, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Kultti, Klaus, 1999. "Equivalence of Auctions and Posted Prices," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 106-113, April.
  12. Moen, E.R., 1995. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Memorandum 37/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  13. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/dc0ckec3fcb, Sciences Po.
  14. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  15. Steven J. Davis, 2001. "The Quality Distribution of Jobs and the Structure of Wages in Search Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 8434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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