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Returns to On-the-Job Search and the Dispersion of Wages


  • Gottfries, Axel

    () (University of Cambridge)

  • Teulings, Coen

    () (University of Cambridge)


A wide class of models with On-the-Job Search (OJS) predicts that workers gradually select into better-paying jobs. We develop a simple methodology to test predictions implied by OJS using two sources of identification: (i) time-variation in job-finding rates and (ii) the time since the last lay-off. Conditional on the termination date of the job, job duration should be distributed uniformly. This methodology is applied to the NLSY 79. We find remarkably strong support for all implications. The standard deviation of the wage offer distribution is about 15%. OJS accounts for 30% of the experience profile, 9% of total wage dispersion and an average wage loss of 11% following a lay-off.

Suggested Citation

  • Gottfries, Axel & Teulings, Coen, 2017. "Returns to On-the-Job Search and the Dispersion of Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 10668, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10668

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fatih Guvenen & Burhan Kuruscu & Satoshi Tanaka & David Wiczer, 2015. "Multidimensional Skill Mismatch," Working Papers tecipa-544, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:labeco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:105-119 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hartog, Joop & Raposo, Pedro, 2017. "Are starting wages reduced by an insurance premium for preventing wage decline? Testing the prediction of Harris and Holmstrom (1982)," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 105-119.

    More about this item


    on-the-job search; wage dispersion; job duration;

    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
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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