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The Role of Headhunters in Wage Inequality: It's All about Matching

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  • Alexey Gorn

    (University of Liverpool)

Abstract

This study relates the increase in the U.S. top wages to the increasing prominence of headhunters. Headhunters improve the matching between firms and employees via two channels: screening of candidates and passive on-the-job search. I incorporate headhunters in the labor market framework of random search with two-sided heterogeneity. The calibrated model shows that headhunters can account for 32% of the increase in the top 10% wage share in the U.S. from 1970 to 2010, with 19% due to improvements in matching between workers and firms. I provide supporting micro evidence for CEO compensation, as well as cross-country evidence on headhunter hires/fees and top income growth. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Alexey Gorn, 2021. "The Role of Headhunters in Wage Inequality: It's All about Matching," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 40, pages 309-346, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:18-477
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2020.10.006
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    1. Pieter A. Gautier & Coen N. Teulings, 2015. "Sorting And The Output Loss Due To Search Frictions," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(6), pages 1136-1166, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage distribution; Top incomes; Sorting; On-the-job search; Headhunters;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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