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Wage Bargaining with On-The-Job Search: Theory and Evidence

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

The Nash wage bargaining model is ubiquitous in modern labour economics. Yet most applications of this model ignore inter-employer competition for labour services and attribute all of the workers’ rent to their bargaining power. In this Paper, we write and estimate an equilibrium model with strategic wage bargaining and on-the-job search and use it to take another look at the determinants of wages in France. There are three essential determinants of wages in our model: productivity, competition between employers resulting from on-the-job search, and the workers’ bargaining power. We find that between-firm competition matters a lot in the determination of wages, as it is quantitatively more important than wage bargaining à la Nash in raising wages above the workers’ ‘reservation wages’, defined as out-of-work income. In particular, we detect no significant bargaining power for intermediate- and low-skilled workers, and a modestly positive bargaining power for high-skilled workers. In addition, the Paper provides some empirical information on the nature of sorting of workers by firms.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4154.

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Date of creation: Dec 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4154
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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. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  3. Margolis, David N. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2001. "Do Firms Really Share Rents with Their Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Asher Wolinsky, 1996. "A Theory of the Firm with Non-Binding Employment Contracts," Discussion Papers 1166, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Peter Sanfey, 1992. "Wages, Profits and Rent-Sharing," NBER Working Papers 4222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:cup:macdyn:v:5:y:2002:i:05:p:742-747_03 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Bargaining and Markets," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000515, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  9. Mortensen, D.T., 1998. "Equilibrium Unemployment with Wage Posting: Burdett-Mortensen Meet Pissarides," Papers 98-14, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  10. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/dc0ckec3fcb, Sciences Po.
  11. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
  12. Malcomson, J., 1998. "Individual employment contracts," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9804, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  13. Matthew S. Dey & Christopher J. Flinn, 2005. "An Equilibrium Model of Health Insurance Provision and Wage Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 571-627, 03.
  14. Eckstein, Z. & Wolpin, K.I., 1992. "Duration to First Job and the Return to Schooling : Estimates form a Search -Matching Model," Papers 13-92, Tel Aviv.
  15. Van Reenen, John, 1994. "The Creation and Capture of Rents: Wages and Innovation in a Panel of UK Companies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Postel-Vinay & Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Working Papers 155908, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  17. repec:fth:inseep:2001-16 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Abowd, John M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1993. "The Effects of Product Market Competition on Collective Bargaining Agreements: The Case of Foreign Competition in Canada," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 983-1014, November.
  19. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  20. Bent Jesper Christensen & Rasmus Lentz & Dale T. Mortensen & George R. Neumann & Axel Werwatz, 2003. "On the Job Search and the Wage Distribution," CAM Working Papers 2004-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  21. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  22. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  23. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
  24. Ridder, Geert & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2002. "A cross-country comparison of labor market frictions," Working Paper Series 2002:22, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  25. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1999. "Job Reallocation, Employment Fluctuations and Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0421, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  26. Cahuc, Pierre & Wasmer, Etienne, 2001. "Does Intrafirm Bargaining Matter In The Large Firm'S Matching Model?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(05), pages 742-747, November.
  27. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  28. Dale T. Mortensen, 1988. "Equilibrium Wage Distrihutions: A Synthesis," Discussion Papers 811, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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