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Prominent Job Advertisements, Group Learning and Wage Dispersion

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  • Julio J. Rotemberg

Abstract

A model is presented in which people base their labor search strategy on the average wage and the average unemployment duration of people who belong to their peer group. It is shown that, if the distribution of wage offers is not stationary so lower wage offers tend to arrive before higher wage ones, such learning can induce a great deal of wage inequality. An equilibrium model is developed in which firms can choose either to advertise their job openings prominently or not. Prominent ads are assumed to have more influence on more inexperienced job searchers who are less able to identify a multiplicity of viable jobs. Equilibria can then feature groups that learn naively from the experience of their members and accept low wage offers from prominent ads while other groups do not find these offers acceptable. A new test statistic is proposed that measures whether, as predicted by the model, the gains from increasing one's reservation wage are larger than either those that people expect or those predicted by models in which job offers are stationary.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Rotemberg, 2012. "Prominent Job Advertisements, Group Learning and Wage Dispersion," NBER Working Papers 18638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18638
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nishimura, Kiyohiko G. & Ozaki, Hiroyuki, 2004. "Search and Knightian uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 299-333, December.
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    3. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Prominence and consumer search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 209-233.
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    5. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Sébastien Roux, 2006. "Wages, Mobility and Firm Performance: Advantages and Insights from Using Matched Worker-Firm Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(512), pages 245-285, June.
    6. Lancaster, Tony & Chesher, Andrew, 1983. "An Econometric Analysis of Reservation Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1661-1676, November.
    7. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
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    12. Ali M. Ahmed, 2008. "If You Believe That Discrimination Exists, It Will," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 76(6), pages 613-628, December.
    13. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2002. "Perceptions of Equity and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 249-288, Part.
    14. Kevin Lang, 1991. "Persistent Wage Dispersion and Involuntary Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 181-202.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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