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To Match or Not To Match ? Optimal Wage Policy with Endogenous Worker search Intensity

  • Fabien Postel-Vinay


  • Jean-Marc Robin


We consider an equilibrium search model with on-the-job search where firms set wages. When an employee receives an outside job offer, it is optimal for the employer to try to retain the employee by matching the offer. This results in a wage increase for the worker. However, if workers are able to vary their search intensity, then this `offer-matching' policy runs into a moral hazard problem. Knowing that outside offers lead to wage increases, workers tend to search more intensively, which is costly for the firms. Assuming that firms can commit never to match outside offers, we examine the set of firm types for which it is preferable to do so. In particular, we show that a plausible pattern is one where a `dual' labor market emerges, with `bad' jobs at low-productivity, nonmatching firms and `good' jobs at high-productivity, matching firms. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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Paper provided by Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique in its series Working Papers with number 2002-59.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2002-59
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  1. W. Bentley MacLeod & James Malcomson, 1997. "Motivation and Markets," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 339., Boston College Department of Economics.
  2. Stevens, M., 2000. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Stratgies for Recruitment and Retention," Economics Papers 2000-w10, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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  4. James Albrecht & Susan Vroman, 2005. "Equilibrium Search With Time-Varying Unemployment Benefits," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 631-648, 07.
  5. 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.
  6. W. Bentley MacLeod & James M. Malcomson, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Working Papers 585, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x, June.
  8. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1990. "Efficiency Wage Models of Unemployment--One View," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(2), pages 269-95, April.
  9. Albrecht, James & Axell, Bo, 1983. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Working Papers 83-10, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  10. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher, 1999. "New Developments in Models of Search in the Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "The Distribution of Earnings in an Equilibrium Search Model with State-Dependent Offers and Counteroffers," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00357753, HAL.
  13. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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