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Assortative Matching and Reputation

  • Axel Anderson

    (Economics Department, Georgetown University)

  • Lones Smith

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Michigan)

Consider Becker's classic 1963 matching model, with unobserved fixed types and stochastic publicly observed output. If types are complementary, then matching is assortative in the known Bayesian posteriors (the 'reputations'). We discover a robust failure of Becker's result in the simplest dynamic two type version of this world. Assortative matching is generally neither efficient nor an equilibrium for high discount factors. In a labor theoretic rationale, we show that assortative matching fails around the highest (lowest) reputation agents for 'low-skill (high-skill) concealing' technologies. We then find that as the number of production outcomes grows, almost all technologies are of either form. Our theory implies the dynamic result that high-skill matches eventually break up. It also reveals that the induced information rents create discontinuities in the wage profile. This in turn produces life-cycle effects: young workers are paid less than their static marginal product, and old workers more.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d15b/d1553.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1553.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Review of Economic Studies (January 2010), 77(1): 3-29
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1553
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Heski Bar-Isaac, 2004. "Something to Prove: Reputation in teams and hiring to introduce uncertainty," Working Papers 04-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  3. Harris, Milton & Holstrom, Bengt, 1982. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 315-33, July.
  4. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  5. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-79, December.
  6. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
  7. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2004. "Market Culture: How Norms Governing Exploding Offers Affect Market Performance," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000018, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Hutchens, Robert M, 1987. "A Test of Lazear's Theory of Delayed Payment Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages S153-70, October.
  9. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  10. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  11. Neil E. Gretsky & Joseph M. Ostroy & William R. Zame, 1990. "The Nonatomic Assignment Model," UCLA Economics Working Papers 605, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  13. Lones Smith, 2006. "The Marriage Model with Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1124-1146, December.
  14. Chade, Hector, 2006. "Matching with noise and the acceptance curse," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 81-113, July.
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