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Equilibrium Wage and Employment Dynamics in a Model of Wage Posting without Commitment

  • Melvyn G. Coles
  • Dale T. Mortensen

A rich but tractable variant of the Burdett-Mortensen model of wage setting behavior is formulated and a dynamic market equilibrium solution to the model is defined and characterized. In the model, firms cannot commit to wage contracts. Instead, the Markov perfect equilibrium to the wage setting game, characterized by Coles (2001), is assumed. In addition, firm recruiting decisions, firm entry and exit, and transitory firm productivity shocks are incorporated into the model. Given that the cost of recruiting workers is proportional to firm employment, we establish the existence of an equilibrium solution to the model in which wages are not contingent on firm size but more productive employers always pay higher wages. Although the state space, the distribution of workers over firms, is large in the general case, it reduces to a scalar that can be interpreted as the unemployment rate in the special case of homogenous firms. Furthermore, the equilibrium is unique. As the dimension of the state space is equal to the number of firms types in general, an (approximate) equilibrium is computable.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17284.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17284
Note: EFG
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  1. Merz, Monika & Yashiv, Eran, 2003. "Labor and the Market Value of the Firm," IZA Discussion Papers 965, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "Directed Search on the Job, Heterogeneity, and Aggregate Fluctuations," Working Papers tecipa-390, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. 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 257-73, May.
  4. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2013. "Stochastic Search Equilibrium," 2013 Meeting Papers 159, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Melvyn G. Coles, 2001. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion, Firm Size and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(1), pages 159-187, January.
  6. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  7. Robert E. Lucas & Jr., 1967. "Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 321.
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