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Equilibrium labour turnover, firm growth and unemployment

  • Coles, Melvyn G.
  • Mortensen, Dale T.

This paper identifies a data-consistent, equilibrium model of unemployment, wage dispersion, quit turnover and firm growth dynamics. In a separating equilibrium, more productive firms signal their type by paying strictly higher wages in every state of the market. Workers optimally quit to firms paying a higher wage and so move effciently from less to more productive firms. Start-up firms are initially small and grow endogenously over time. Consistent with Gibrat's law, individual firm growth rates depend on firm productivity but not on firm size. Aggregate unemployment evolves endogenously. Restrictions are identified so that the model is consistent with empirical wage distributions.

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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2012-07.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2012-07.

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Date of creation: 30 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2012-07
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Phone: 44-1206-872957
Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/Email:


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Order Information: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Web: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/publications/ Email:


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  1. Rasmus Lentz & Dale T. Mortensen, 2008. "An Empirical Model of Growth Through Product Innovation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1317-1373, November.
  2. 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.
  3. John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," Working Papers 10-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Tor Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Innovating Firms and Aggregate Innovation," NBER Working Papers 8819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:ese:iserwp:2012-07 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2013. "Stochastic Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1545-1581.
  7. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with a stochastic number of bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, October.
  8. Robert E. Lucas & Jr., 1967. "Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 321.
  9. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  10. Monika Merz & Eran Yashiv, 2005. "Labor and the Market Value of the Firm," CEP Discussion Papers dp0690, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
  12. Melvyn G. Coles & Dale T. Mortensen, 2012. "Equilibrium Labor Turnover, Firm Growth and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 18022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jeanā€Marc Robin, 2011. "On the Dynamics of Unemployment and Wage Distributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1327-1355, 09.
  14. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "Directed Search on the Job, Heterogeneity, and Aggregate Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 327-32, May.
  15. Dale T. Mortensen & Bent Jesper Christensen & Jesper Bagger, 2010. "Wage and Productivity Dispersion: Labor Quality or Rent Sharing?," 2010 Meeting Papers 758, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Melvyn G. Coles, 2001. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion, Firm Size and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(1), pages 159-187, January.
  17. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09j003nctkn is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, August.
  19. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
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