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The Equilibrium Approach to Labor Markets

  • Sherwin Rosen

This paper exposits the modern theory of equalizing differences,viewed as optimal assignments of workers to jobs. The basic ideas are first illustrated in a simple model with binary choices of work attributes.Multinominal choices are briefly considered after that. Empirical implications are stressed, with special emphasis on elements of selectivity and stratification by tastes and technology. Applications are sketched for certain aspects of the economics of discrimination, human capital, the value of safety and the theory of implicit contracts. Issues raised by assignment stratification according to worker traits and productivities are discussed, and the principle sorting model by comparative advantageis outlined. The implied valuation system on personal traits and its relationship to factor-analytic models, as well as selectivity issues in educational and occupational choice illustrate this aspect of the theory.

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Article provided by Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. in its journal Cuadernos de Economía.

Volume (Year): 33 (1996)
Issue (Month): 99 ()
Pages: 189-204

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Handle: RePEc:ioe:cuadec:v:33:y:1996:i:99:p:189-204
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  1. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
  2. John M. Abowd & Orley C. Ashenfelter, 1981. "Anticipated Unemployment, Temporary Layoffs, and Compensating Wage Differentials," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 141-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "Information in Production," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1143-62, September.
  4. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  5. Antos, Joseph R. & Rosen, Sherwin, 1975. "Discrimination in the market for public school teachers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 123-150, May.
  6. Dale T. Mortensen, 1983. "A Welfare Analysis of Unemployment Insurance: Variations on Second Best Themes," Discussion Papers 549, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Robert E. Hall, 1970. "Why Is the Unemployment Rate So High at Full Employment?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 369-410.
  8. Linnerooth, Joanne, 1979. "The Value of Human Life: A Review of the Models," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(1), pages 52-74, January.
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