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“Alternative Theories of Wage Dispersion”


We analyze labor market models where the law of one price does not hold; i.e., models with equilibrium wage dispersion. We begin assuming workers are ex ante heterogeneous, and highlight a flaw with this approach: if search is costly, the market shuts down. We then assume workers are homogeneous but matches are ex post heterogeneous. This model is robust to search costs, and delivers equilibria equilibrium wage dispersion. However, we prove the law of two prices holds: generically we cannot get more than two wages. We explore several other models, including one combining ex ante and ex post heterogeneity; this model is robust, and can deliver more than two-point wage distributions.

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Paper provided by ERMES, University Paris 2 in its series Working Papers ERMES with number 0505.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:erm:papers:0505
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  1. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  2. Jafarey, Saqib & Masters, Adrian, 2003. " Output, Prices, and the Velocity of Money in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 871-88, December.
  3. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
  4. Kenneth Burdett & Randall Wright, 1994. "Two-sided search," Staff Report 169, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Damien Gaumont & Martin Schindler & Randall Wright, 2005. "Alternative Theories of Wage Dispersion," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-017, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/dc0ckec3fcb, Sciences Po.
  7. P. Diamond, 1980. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Working papers 268, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Masters, Adrian M, 1999. "Wage Posting in Two-Sided Search and the Minimum Wage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 809-26, November.
  9. Gerard J. van den Berg & Geert Ridder, 1998. "An Empirical Equilibrium Search Model of the Labor Market," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1183-1222, September.
  10. Eckstein, Zvi & Mortensen, Dale T., 2006. "Labor search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 807-810, May.
  11. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1983. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Working Paper Series 99, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  13. Curtis, Elisabeth & Wright, Randall, 2004. "Price setting, price dispersion, and the value of money: or, the law of two prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1599-1621, November.
  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. MacMinn, Richard D, 1980. "Job Search and the Labor Dropout Problem Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 69-87, August.
  16. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
  17. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00357751, HAL.
  18. Gaumont Damien & Schindler Martin & Wright Randall, 2006. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion: An Example," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-18, October.
  19. Albrecht, James W & Vroman, Susan B, 1998. "Nash Equilibrium Efficiency Wage Distributions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 183-203, February.
  20. Peter Diamond, 1985. "Consumer Differences and Prices in a Search Model," Working papers 404, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  21. Albrecht, James W & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1986. "The Efficiency of Search under Competition and Monopsony," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1246-57, December.
  22. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  23. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Empirical Labor Search: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1990. "Estimating a Market Equilibrium Search Model from Panel Data on Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 783-808, July.
  25. Rob, Rafael, 1985. "Equilibrium Price Distributions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 487-504, July.
  26. P. Diamond, 1980. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment and Efficiency," Working papers 257, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  27. repec:inr:wpaper:155908 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  29. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  30. Albrecht, James W & Vroman, Susan B, 1992. "Non-existence of Single-Wage Equilibria in Search Models with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 617-24, July.
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