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Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity

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  • Postel-Vinay, Fabien
  • Robin, Jean-Marc

Abstract

We construct and estimate an equilibrium search model with on-the-job-search. Firms make take-it-or-leave-it wage offers to workers conditional on their characteristics and they can respond to the outside job offers received by their employees. Unobserved worker productive heterogeneity is introduced in the form of cross-worker differences in a ‘competence’ parameter. On the other side of the market, firms also are heterogeneous with respect to their marginal productivity of labor. The model delivers a theory of steady-state wage dispersion driven by heterogenous worker abilities and firm productivities, as well as by matching frictions. The structural model is estimated using matched employer and employee French panel data. The exogenous distributions of worker and firm heterogeneity components are non-parametrically estimated. We use this structural estimation to provide a decomposition of cross-employee wage variance. We find that the share of the cross-sectional wage variance that is explained by person effects varies across skill groups. Specifically, this share lies close to 40% for high-skilled white collars, and quickly decreases to 0% as the observed skill level decreases. The contribution of market imperfections to wage dispersion is typically around 50%.

Suggested Citation

  • Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3548
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "The Distribution of Earnings in an Equilibrium Search Model with State-Dependent Offers and Counteroffers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 989-1016, November.
    2. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
    3. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 305-358, May.
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    8. Jean-Marc Robin & Sébastien Roux_, 1998. "Random or Balanced Matching : An Equilibrium Search Model with Endogenous Capital and Two-Sided Search," Working Papers 98-38, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    labour market frictions; log wage variance decomposition; wage dispersion;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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