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Wage Formation between Newly Hired Workers and Employers: Survey Evidence

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  • Robert E. Hall
  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

Some workers bargain with prospective employers before accepting a job. Others could bargain, but find it undesirable, because their right to bargain has induced a sufficiently favorable offer, which they accept. Yet others perceive that they cannot bargain over pay; they regard the posted wage as a take-it-or-leave-it opportunity. Theories of wage formation point to substantial differences in labor-market equilibrium between bargained and posted wages. The fraction of workers hired away from existing jobs is another key determinant of equilibrium, because a worker with an existing job has a better outside option in bargaining than does an unemployed worker. Our survey measures the incidences of wage posting, bargaining, and on-the-job search. We find that about a third of workers had precise information about pay when they first met with their employers, a sign of wage posting. We find that another third bargained over pay before accepting their current jobs. And about 40 percent of workers could have remained on their earlier jobs at the time they accepted their current jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Hall & Alan B. Krueger, 2008. "Wage Formation between Newly Hired Workers and Employers: Survey Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14329
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    1. Hall, Robert E & Lazear, Edward P, 1984. "The Excess Sensitivity of Layoffs and Quits to Demand," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 233-257, April.
    2. Ken Binmore & Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "The Nash Bargaining Solution in Economic Modelling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 176-188, Summer.
    3. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
    4. Guido Menzio, 2007. "A Theory of Partially Directed Search," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 748-769, October.
    5. Dale T. Mortensen, 1978. "Specific Capital, Bargaining, and Labor Turnover," Discussion Papers 320, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    6. 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.
    7. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2009. "The Timing of Labor Market Expansions: New Facts and a New Hypothesis," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 1-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    9. Gerard R. Butters, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 465-491.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:pri:cepsud:223shephard is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ronald Wolthoff, 2010. "Applications and Interviews: A Structural Analysis of Two-Sided Simultaneous Search," 2010 Meeting Papers 114, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Andrew Shephard, 2011. "Equilibrium Search and Tax Credit Reform," Working Papers 1336, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    4. Dube, Arindrajit & Lester, T. William & Reich, Michael, 2011. "Do Frictions Matter in the Labor Market? Accessions, Separations, and Minimum Wage Effects," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt4t3342nd, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    5. Galuscak, Kamil & Keeney, Mary & Nicolitsas, Daphne & Smets, Frank & Strzelecki, Pawel & Vodopivec, Matija, 2012. "The determination of wages of newly hired employees: Survey evidence on internal versus external factors," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 802-812.
    6. Guido Menzio & Irina Telyukova & Ludo Visschers, 2016. "Directed Search over the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 19, pages 38-62, January.
    7. Zaharieva, Anna, 2013. "Social welfare and wage inequality in search equilibrium with personal contacts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 107-121.
    8. Menzio, Guido & Shi, Shouyong, 2010. "Block recursive equilibria for stochastic models of search on the job," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1453-1494, July.
    9. Mikhail Golosov & Pricila Maziero & Guido Menzio, 2013. "Taxation and Redistribution of Residual Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(6), pages 1160-1204.
    10. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2011. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 468-510.
    11. Silvio Sticher, 2013. "Selection upon Wage Posting," Diskussionsschriften dp1311, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    12. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Comment on "The Timing of Labor Market Expansions: New Facts and a New Hypothesis"," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 53-58 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Menzio, Guido & Telyukova, Irina A. & Visschers, Ludo, 2015. "Directed Search over the Life Cycle," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-48, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    14. Brencic, Vera & Norris, John B., 2010. "Do employers change job offers in their online job ads to facilitate search?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 46-48, July.
    15. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search, and Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 509-537, March.
    16. Shouyong Shi & Gaston Chaumont, 2017. "Wealth Accumulation, On the Job Search and Inequality," 2017 Meeting Papers 128, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Manning, Alan, 2011. "Imperfect Competition in the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    18. Philippe Cyrenne, 2013. "Player Salaries, Player Mobility and the Invariance Principle: Evidence from the National Hockey League," Departmental Working Papers 2013-04, The University of Winnipeg, Department of Economics.
    19. Rogerson, Richard & Shimer, Robert, 2011. "Search in Macroeconomic Models of the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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