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Alternative Models of Wage Dispersion

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Abstract

We analyze labor market models where the law of one price does not hold-that is, models with equilibrium wage dispersion. We begin by 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 it delivers 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, which is robust and can deliver more than two-point wage distributions.

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  • International Monetary Fund, 2005. "Alternative Models of Wage Dispersion," IMF Working Papers 05/64, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/64
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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2007. "Empirical labor search: A survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 531-564, February.
    4. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    5. 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 871-888, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
    8. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    9. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
    10. Eckstein, Zvi & Mortensen, Dale T., 2006. "Labor search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 807-810, May.
    11. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
    12. 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 257-273, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & van Vuuren, Aico, 2010. "The effect of search frictions on wages," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 875-885, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wages; Search equilibrium; wage posting; wage dispersion; labor theory; wage; worker; equations; Seach equilibrium;

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