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A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination and Keynesian Unemployment

  • Jeremy I. Bulow
  • Lawrence H. Summers

This paper develops a model of dual labor markets based on employers' need to motivate workers. In order to elicit effort from their workers, employers may find it optimal to pay more than the going wage. This changes fundamentally the character of labor markets. The modelis applied to a wide range of labormarket phenomena. It provides a coherent framework for understanding the claims of industrial policy advocates. It also can provide the basis for a theory of occupational segregation and discrimination which will not be eroded by market forces. Finally, the model provides the basis for a theory of involuntary unemployment.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1666.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1666.

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Date of creation: Jul 1985
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Publication status: published as Bulow, Jeremy I. and Lawrence H. Summers. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment." Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 4, No. 3, Part 1, (July 1986), pp. 376-414.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1666
Note: LS EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1981. "Are Those Paid More Really More Productive? The Case of Experience," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 186-216.
  3. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-78, June.
  4. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stephen T. Marston, 1976. "Employment Instability and High Unemployment Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(1), pages 169-210.
  6. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  7. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S33-58, January.
  8. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  9. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical theories of discrimination in labor markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
  10. Richard Startz & Lundberg, . "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 19-81, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  11. Robert E. Hall, 1975. "The Rigidity of Wages and the Persistence of Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 6(2), pages 301-350.
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