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Identifying sorting: in theory

Assortative Matching between workers and firms provides evidence of the complementarities or substitutes in production. The presence of complementarities is important for policies that aim to achieve the optimal allocation of resources, for example unemployment insurance. We argue that using wage data alone, it is virtually impossible to identify whether Assortative Matching is positive or negative. Even though we cannot identify the sign of the sorting, we can identify the strength, i.e., the magnitude of the cross-partial, and the associated welfare loss. We show first that the wage for a given worker is non-monotonic in the type of his employer. This is due to the fact that in a sorting model, wages re ect the opportunity cost of mismatch. We show analytically that this non-monotonicity prevents standard form fixed effects to correlate with the true type of the form. We then propose an alternative procedure that measures the strength of sorting in the presence of search frictions. Knowing the strength of sorting facilitates the measurement of the output loss due to mismatch.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 29708.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Review of Economic Studies, July, 2011, 78(3), pp. 872-906. ISSN: 0034-6527
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:29708
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  1. Dupuy, Arnaud, 2010. "Sorting on Skills and Preferences: Tinbergen Meets Sattinger," IZA Discussion Papers 5143, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  4. Acemoglu, D. & Shimer, R., 1997. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 97-9, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  7. Ekeland, Ivar & Heckman, James J. & Nesheim, Lars, 2003. "Identification and Estimation of Hedonic Models," IZA Discussion Papers 853, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  9. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2003. "Wage bargaining with on-the-job search : theory and evidence," Research Unit Working Papers 0212, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  10. Alp E. Atakan, 2006. "Assortative Matching with Explicit Search Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 667-680, 05.
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  12. Jan Eeckhout & Philipp Kircher, 2008. "Sorting and Decentralized Price Competition," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  13. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
  14. Rute Mendes & Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom, 2007. "An Empirical Assessment of Assortative Matching in the Labor Market," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 62, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  15. Robert Shimer, 2001. "The Assignment of Workers to Jobs In an Economy with Coordination Frictions," NBER Working Papers 8501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
  17. Pieter A. Gautier & Coen N. Teulings, 2006. "How Large are Search Frictions?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(6), pages 1193-1225, December.
  18. Sattinger, Michael, 1975. "Comparative Advantage and the Distributions of Earnings and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 455-68, May.
  19. Wachter, Till von & Bender, Stefan, 2004. "In the Right Place at the Wrong Time: The Role of Firms and Luck in Young Workers' Careers," IZA Discussion Papers 1348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Jan Eeckhout & Roberto Pinheiro, 2014. "Diverse Organizations And The Competition For Talent," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 625-664, 08.
  21. 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..
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