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Spence Revisited: Signaling and the Allocation of Individuals to Jobs


  • Timothy Perri


Spence (1974a) considered a variant of his signaling model in which there are two types of jobs, and in which signaling can increase wealth by improving the allocation of individuals to jobs. Using results in signaling games since Spence’s work---the Riley outcome (Riley, 1979), the intuitive criterion (Cho and Kreps, 1987), and undefeated equilibrium (Mailath et al., 1993)---it is possible to be more precise than Spence was in determining when signaling would occur and what the effect of signaling on wealth would be. We find the likelihood of efficient signaling, inefficient signaling, and pooling equilibria depends on the fraction of more able individuals in the population. With non-trivial gains from job allocation, inefficient signaling does not appear to be the most likely outcome. Key Words: signaling, pooling, Riley outcome, intuitive criterion, and undefeated equilibrium

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Perri, 2011. "Spence Revisited: Signaling and the Allocation of Individuals to Jobs," Working Papers 11-16, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:11-16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    2. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
    3. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
    4. Perri, T. J., 1995. "Testing for ability when job assignment is a signal," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 106-107, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy Perri, 2013. "The More Abstract the Better? Raising Education Cost for the Less Able when Education is a Signal," Working Papers 13-08, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    2. Timothy Perri, 2016. "Does signalling solve the lemons problem?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 227-229, March.
    3. Perri, Timothy, 2016. "Lemons & Loons," Review of Behavioral Economics, now publishers, vol. 3(2), pages 173-188, July.

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    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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