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Firms' Choices of Wage-Setting Protocols in the Presence of Minimum Wages

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Flinn

    (New York University)

  • James Mabli

    (Mathematica Policy Research)

  • Joseph Mullins

    (University of Western Ontario)

Abstract

We study the formation of wages in a frictional search market where firms can choose either to bargain with workers or post non-negotiable wage offers. Workers can secure wage increases for themselves by engaging in on-the-job search and either moving to firms that offer higher wages or, when possible, leveraging an outside offer into a higher wage at the current firm. We characterize the optimal wage posting strategy of non-negotiating firms and how this decision is influenced by the presence of renegotiating firms. We quantitatively examine the model's unique implications for efficiency, wage dispersion, and worker welfare by estimating it using data on the wages and employment spells of low-skill workers in the United States. In the estimated steady state of the model, we find that more than 10% of job acceptance decisions made while on the job are socially sub-optimal. We also find that, relative to a benchmark case without renegotiation, the presence of even a small number of these firms increases the wage dispersion attributable to search frictions, deflates wages, and reduces worker welfare. Moving to a general equilibrium setting, we use the estimated model to study the impact of a minimum wage increase on firm bargaining strategies and worker outcomes. Our key finding is that binding minimum wages lead to an increase in the equilibrium fraction of renegotiating firms which, relative to a counterfactual in which this fraction is fixed, significantly dampens the reduction in wage dispersion and gains in worker welfare that can typically be achieved with moderate minimum wage increases. Indeed, the presence of endogenous bargaining strategies reverses the sign of the average welfare effect of a $15 minimum wage from positive to negative.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Flinn & James Mabli & Joseph Mullins, 2017. "Firms' Choices of Wage-Setting Protocols in the Presence of Minimum Wages," Working Papers 2017-070, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2017-070
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    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Flinn_Mabli_Mullins_2017_firm-choices_wage-setting.pdf
    File Function: First version, September 5, 2017
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cynthia L. Doniger, 2015. "Wage Dispersion with Heterogeneous Wage Contracts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-23, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), revised 26 Mar 2015.
    2. Luca Flabbi, 2010. "Gender Discrimination Estimation In A Search Model With Matching And Bargaining," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 745-783, August.
    3. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage Bargaining with On-the-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 323-364, March.
    4. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    5. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
    6. Christopher Flinn & Ahu Gemici & Steven Laufer, 2017. "Search, Matching, and Training," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 25, pages 260-297, April.
    7. Christopher J. Flinn, 2006. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search, Matching, and Endogenous Contact Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 1013-1062, July.
    8. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & Van den Berg, Gerard J, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model with Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1039-1074, November.
    9. Cristian Bartolucci, 2013. "Gender Wage Gaps Reconsidered: A Structural Approach Using Matched Employer-Employee Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 998-1034.
    10. Matthew S. Dey & Christopher J. Flinn, 2005. "An Equilibrium Model of Health Insurance Provision and Wage Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 571-627, March.
    11. 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.
    12. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
    13. Robert E. Hall & Alan B. Krueger, 2012. "Evidence on the Incidence of Wage Posting, Wage Bargaining, and On-the-Job Search," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 56-67, October.
    14. Christian Moser & Niklas Engbom, 2016. "Earnings Inequality and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from Brazil," 2016 Meeting Papers 72, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Christian Moser & Niklas Engbom, 2016. "Earnings Inequality and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from Brazil," 2016 Meeting Papers 72, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1984. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 824-840, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Moser & Niklas Engbom, 2016. "Earnings Inequality and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from Brazil," 2016 Meeting Papers 72, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Damdinsuren, Erdenebulgan & Zaharieva, Anna, 2018. "Expectation Formation and Learning in the Labour Market with On-the-Job Search and Nash Bargaining," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 604, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    3. Axel Gottfries, 2018. "Partial commitment in models of on-the-job search with an application to minimum wage spillovers," 2018 Meeting Papers 567, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage posting; wage bargaining; minimum wage; worker mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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