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Search in the Labour Market, Incomplete Contracts and Growth

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  • Acemoglu, Daron

Abstract

This paper shows that search in the labour market has important effects on accumulation decisions. In a labour market characterized by search, employment contracts are naturally incomplete and this creates a wedge between the rates of return and marginal products of both human and physical capital. As a result, when workers invest more in their human capital, they increase the rate of return on physical capital. Provided that these factors are complements in the production function, this will increase the desired level of investment for firms. Then, because physical capital is not being paid its marginal product, the rate of return on all human capital goes up. In this model, therefore, there are pecuniary increasing returns to scale in human capital accumulation in the sense that the more human capital there is, the more profitable it is to accumulate human capital. Applying this argument conversely, the presence of pecuniary increasing returns in physical capital accumulation also follows. These pecuniary increasing returns lead to amplified inefficiencies and to the possibility of multiple equilibria. They also imply that factor distribution of income has an important impact on growth. Finally, the paper derives new links between unemployment and human capital accumulation and shows that when technology choice is endogenized, search introduces a negative wage formation externality which may lead to excessively fast diffusion of new technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron, 1994. "Search in the Labour Market, Incomplete Contracts and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1026, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1026
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    Cited by:

    1. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Technology, unemployment and efficiency," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 525-533, April.
    2. Gabszewicz, J. & Turrini, A., 2000. "Workers' skills, product quality and industry equilibrium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 575-593, May.
    3. Maria Rosaria Carillo, 2000. "The Effect of Professionalisation and the Demand for Social Status on the Adoption of New Technologies," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 473-502.
    4. Dessy, Sylvain E. & Pallage, Stephane, 2001. "Child labor and coordination failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 469-476, August.
    5. Sylvain Dessy & Stephane Pallage, 2002. "Fertility, Education, and Market Failures," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 71-85.
    6. Fabio Mariani, 2008. "Brain Drain, R&D-Cost Differentials and the Innovation Gap," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 74(3), pages 251-272.
    7. Chander, Parkash & Thangavelu, Shandre M., 2004. "Technology adoption, education and immigration policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 79-94, October.
    8. Jean Gabszewicz & Alessandro Turrini, 1999. "Workers' Skills and Product Selection," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 50(3), pages 383-391.
    9. Sergio Scicchitano, 2010. "Complementarity between heterogeneous human capital and R&D: can job-training avoid low development traps?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 361-380, November.
    10. Stefania Zotteri, 2002. "Heterogeneity in Human Capital and Economic Growth," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 455, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    11. Adriana Barone & Concetto Paolo Vinci, 2001. "The Working Environment And Social Increasing Returns," Working Papers 3_2001, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    12. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11187-016-9822-x is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Growth; Human Capital; Incomplete Contracts; Search; Wage Determination;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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