IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

On the Determinants of the Skill Premium in Wages


  • Timo Vesala


We study the determinants of the skill premium in a matching model where wages are set in bilateral meetings between workers and firms. As a novelty, disagreeing parties do not have to separate immediately, but they may opt to wait for competing agents to arrive. This waiting option is disproportionately valuable for high-skilled workers because they are better protected against competition. This gives rise to a wage schedule with increasing skill premia. The model can be seen to capture, e.g., the consequences of market decentralization, or deunionization, and it may help explain the observed Europe-U.S. differences in wage structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Timo Vesala, 2008. "On the Determinants of the Skill Premium in Wages," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(2), pages 195-210, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200806)164:2_195:otdots_2.0.tx_2-u

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access is included for subscribers to the printed version.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
    2. Hall, Robert E., 1979. "A theory of the natural unemployment rate and the duration of employment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 153-169, April.
    3. Dan Devroye & Richard B. Freeman, 2001. "Does Inequality in Skills Explain Inequality in Earnings Across Advanced Countries?," NBER Working Papers 8140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kultti, Klaus, 2000. "About bargaining power," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 341-344, December.
    5. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    6. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    7. Gerard R. Butters, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 465-491.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200806)164:2_195:otdots_2.0.tx_2-u. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Wolpert). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.