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To match or not to match? Optimal wage policy with endogenous worker search intensity

Author

Listed:
  • Fabien Postel-Vinay

    (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE Paris - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LEA - Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquée - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Department of Economics - UCL - University College of London [London], PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR, Departement of Economics - University of Bristol - University of Bristol [Bristol], ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - Institute for the Study of Labor, DELTA - Département et Laboratoire d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, INRA)

  • Jean-Marc Robin

    (Economics department - MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2004. "To match or not to match? Optimal wage policy with endogenous worker search intensity," Post-Print hal-03587620, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-03587620
    DOI: 10.1016/S1094-2025(03)00058-9
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03587620
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