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Signaling to Experts

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  • Pablo Kurlat
  • Florian Scheuer

Abstract

We study competitive equilibrium in a signaling economy with heterogeneously informed buyers. In terms of the classic Spence (1973) model of job market signaling, firms have access to direct but imperfect information about worker types, in addition to observing their education. Firms can be ranked according to the quality of their information, i.e. their expertise. In equilibrium, some high type workers forgo signaling and are hired by better informed firms, who make positive profits. Workers’ education decisions and firms’ use of their expertise are strategic complements, allowing for multiple equilibria. We characterize wage dispersion and the extent of signaling as a function of the distribution of expertise among firms. The market can create insufficient or excessive incentives for firms to acquire information, and we provide a formula to measure this inefficiency. Our model can also be applied to a variety of other signaling problems, including securitization, corporate financial structure, insurance markets, or dividend policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Kurlat & Florian Scheuer, 2017. "Signaling to Experts," CESifo Working Paper Series 6655, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6655
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6655.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nick Netzer & Florian Scheuer, 2014. "A Game Theoretic Foundation Of Competitive Equilibria With Adverse Selection," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 399-422, May.
    2. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Riordan, Michael H, 1984. "Advertising as a Signal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 427-450, June.
    3. Lori Beaman & Jeremy Magruder, 2012. "Who Gets the Job Referral? Evidence from a Social Networks Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3574-3593, December.
    4. Douglas Gale, 1996. "Equilibria and Pareto optima of markets with adverse selection (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 7(2), pages 207-235.
    5. Eduardo M. Azevedo & Daniel Gottlieb, 2017. "Perfect Competition in Markets With Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 67-105, January.
    6. Azevedo, Eduardo M. & Gottlieb, Daniel, 2017. "Perfect competition in markets with adverse selection," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 102228, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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