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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. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2002. "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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
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  7. Bulow, Jeremy I. & Levin, Jonathan, 2003. "Matching and Price Competition," Research Papers 1818, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  8. Cole, Harold L. & Mailath, George J. & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2001. "Efficient Non-Contractible Investments in Large Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 333-373, December.
  9. Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1995. "Design Innovation and Fashion Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 771-92, September.
  10. Raquel Fernández & Jordi Gali, 1999. "To Each According to …? Markets, Tournaments, and the Matching Problem with Borrowing Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 799-824.
  11. 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.
  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. 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.
  14. 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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  18. Peters, Michael, 2007. "The pre-marital investment game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 186-213, November.
  19. Hoppe, Heidrun C. & Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2006. "The Theory of Assortative Matching Based on Costly Signals," CEPR Discussion Papers 5543, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2007. "Beauty Is a Beast, Frog Is a Prince: Assortative Matching with Nontransferabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1073-1102, 07.
  22. 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.
  23. Rege, Mari, 2008. "Why do people care about social status?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 233-242, May.
  24. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, . ""Incorporating Concern for Relative Wealth into Economic Models''," CARESS Working Papres 95-14, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  25. 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.
  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. Sattinger, Michael, 1979. "Differential Rents and the Distribution of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(1), pages 60-71, March.
  28. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
  29. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
  30. Eeckhout, Jan, 2000. "On the uniqueness of stable marriage matchings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-8, October.
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