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Job Market Signalling of Relative Position, or Becker Married to Spence

  • Ed Hopkins

We consider a matching model of the labour market where workers that differ in quality send signals to firms that are also vertically differentiated. Signals allow assortative matching in which the highest quality workers send the highest signals and are hired by the best firms. Matching is consider both when wages are fixed (non-transferable utility) and when they are fully flexible (utility is transferable). In both cases payoffs are determined by relative position - the best worker gets the best job. The standard signalling model which communicates the signaller’s absolute type is a special case of the current model of signalling relative position. Furthermore, in the relative model, equilibrium strategies and payoffs depend on the distributions of types of workers and the distribution of firms. This is in contrast with separating equilibria of the standard model which do not respond to changes in supply or demand. Despite incomplete information, equilibrium investment in education by low ability workers can be inefficiently low.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 321307000000000553.

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Date of creation: 27 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:321307000000000553
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  1. Hoppe, Heidrun C. & Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2005. "The Theory of Assortative Matching Based on Costly Signals," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 85, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 2010. "The Rug Rat Race," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 129-199.
  3. Bulow, Jeremy I. & Levin, Jonathan, 2003. "Matching and Price Competition," Research Papers 1818, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  4. Hopkins, Ed & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2009. "Status, affluence, and inequality: Rank-based comparisons in games of status," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 552-568, November.
  5. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2002. "Contest Architecture," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  6. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  7. Robert M. Costrell & Glenn C. Loury, 2004. "Distribution of Ability and Earnings in a Hierarchical Job Assignment Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1322-1363, December.
  8. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Michael Peters & Aloysius Siow, 2002. "Competing Premarital Investments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 592-608, June.
  10. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995. "Incorporating concern for relative wealth into economic models," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 12-21.
  11. Fernández, Raquel & Galí, Jordi, 1997. "To Each According To...? Markets, Tournaments, and the Matching Problem with Borrowing Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 1627, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 1996. "Class systems and the enforcement of social norms," Staff Report 213, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Hopkins, Ed & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2008. "Which Inequality? The Inequality of Endowments Versus the Inequality of Rewards," SIRE Discussion Papers 2008-13, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  14. Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1993. "Design Innovation and Fashion Cycles," Discussion Papers 1049, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Peters, Michael, 2007. "The pre-marital investment game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 186-213, November.
  16. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
  17. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, . ""Efficient Non-Contractible Investments''," CARESS Working Papres 98-13, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  18. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, . "Efficient Non-Contractible Investments in Large Economies," Penn CARESS Working Papers e9e0aca257b20d3bb6bb4a52a, Penn Economics Department.
  19. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2003. "Beauty is a Beast, Frog is a Prince: Assortative Matching with Nontransferabilities," Economics Working Papers 0030, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  20. Alvin E. Roth, 2002. "The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1341-1378, July.
  21. Rege, Mari, 2008. "Why do people care about social status?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 233-242, May.
  22. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," ESE Discussion Papers 92, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  23. Eeckhout, Jan, 2000. "On the uniqueness of stable marriage matchings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-8, October.
  24. Paul Oyer, 2006. "Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 143-160, Summer.
  25. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
  26. Frank, Robert H, 1997. "The Frame of Reference as a Public Good," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1832-47, November.
  27. Spence, Michael, 1974. "Competitive and optimal responses to signals: An analysis of efficiency and distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 296-332, March.
  28. Sattinger, Michael, 1979. "Differential Rents and the Distribution of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(1), pages 60-71, March.
  29. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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