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

Author

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  • Melvyn G. Coles
  • Dale T. Mortensen

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Melvyn G. Coles & Dale T. Mortensen, 2011. "Equilibrium Wage and Employment Dynamics in a Model of Wage Posting without Commitment," NBER Working Papers 17284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17284
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2013. "Stochastic Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1545-1581.
    2. Monika Merz & Eran Yashiv, 2007. "Labor and the Market Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1419-1431, September.
    3. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "Directed Search on the Job, Heterogeneity, and Aggregate Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 327-332, May.
    4. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Robert E. Lucas & Jr., 1967. "Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 321-321.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cai, Xiaoming & Gautier, Pieter A. & Teulings, Coen N. & Watanabe, Makoto, 2014. "Collective versus decentralized wage bargaining and the efficient allocation of resources," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 34-42.
    2. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2016. "Wage Posting and Business Cycles: a Quantitative Exploration," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 19, pages 135-160, January.
    3. Kenneth Burdett, 2014. "A Tribute to Dale Mortensen," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(1), April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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