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Information Cascades in the Labor Market


  • Dorothea Kübler


  • Georg Weizsäcker



A model of herding behavior on the labor market is discussed where employers only receive signals with limited precision about the workers' types, but can observe previous employers' decisions. In particular, we study a situation where the employer and the worker can influence the signal probabilities, in the sense that the employer tries to increase the precision of the signal about the worker's type whereas the worker tries to get a good signal, independent of her type. In a two-period model, we derive conditions for an equilibrium in which only down-cascades occur, i.e.e., the second employer does not hire a worker with a bad history even if he receives a favorable private signal about the worker's type, but he does follow his own signal if the worker's history is good.
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Suggested Citation

  • Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizsäcker, 2003. "Information Cascades in the Labor Market," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 80(3), pages 211-229, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jeczfn:v:80:y:2003:i:3:p:211-229
    DOI: 10.1007/s00712-002-0615-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, January.
    2. Homburg, Stefan, 1990. "The Efficiency of Unfunded Pension Schemes," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 640-647.
    3. Hemming, R. & Keen, M. J., 1983. "Single-crossing conditions in comparisons of tax progressivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 373-380, April.
    4. Kakwani, Nanak C, 1977. "Applications of Lorenz Curves in Economic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(3), pages 719-727, April.
    5. Gaskins, Darius Jr., 1971. "Dynamic limit pricing: Optimal pricing under threat of entry," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 306-322, September.
    6. Breyer, Friedrich & Straub, Martin, 1993. "Welfare effects of unfunded pension systems when labor supply is endogenous," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 77-91, January.
    7. Jenkins, Stephen, 1988. "Calculating Income Distribution Indices from Micro-Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(1), pages 139-42, March.
    8. Fishburn, Peter C. & Willig, Robert D., 1984. "Transfer principles in income redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 323-328, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hiroshi Teruyama & Hiroyuki Toda, 2017. "Polarization and Persistence in the Japanese Labor Market," KIER Working Papers 957, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Biewen, Martin & Steffes, Susanne, 2010. "Unemployment persistence: Is there evidence for stigma effects?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 188-190, March.
    3. Cuesta, Maite Blázquez & Budría, Santiago, 2017. "Unemployment persistence: How important are non-cognitive skills?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 29-37.
    4. Paul J. Healy & John Conlon & Yeochang Yoon, 2016. "Information Cascades with Informative Ratings: An Experimental Test," Working Papers 16-05, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 2008. "Nonemployment stigma as rational herding: A field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 30-40, January.
    6. Yang, Wan-Ru, 2011. "Herding with costly information and signal extraction," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 624-632, October.
    7. Randall Morck, 2009. "Generalized Agency Problems," NBER Working Papers 15051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Fahr, René & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2011. "Who follows the crowd—Groups or individuals?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 200-209.

    More about this item


    herding; labor market; endogenous signal quality; D83; J64;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search


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