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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. 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.
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  11. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/dc0ckec3fcb, Sciences Po.
  12. Malcomson, James M., 1999. "Individual employment contracts," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 2291-2372 Elsevier.
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  17. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1999. "Job Reallocation, Employment Fluctuations and Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0421, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  18. Asher Wolinsky, 2000. "A Theory of the Firm with Non-Binding Employment Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 875-910, July.
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  22. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1995. "Duration to First Job and the Return to Schooling: Estimates from a Search-Matching Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 263-86, April.
  23. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Bargaining and Markets," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000515, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  25. 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.
  26. J. Horowitz, 1996. "Bootstrap Critical Values For Tests Based On The Smoothed Maximum Score Estimator," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1996,44, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  27. 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.
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  30. Mortensen, D.T., 1998. "Equilibrium Unemployment with Wage Posting: Burdett-Mortensen Meet Pissarides," Papers 98-14, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  31. Dale T. Mortensen, 1988. "Equilibrium Wage Distrihutions: A Synthesis," Discussion Papers 811, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
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