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An Empirical Model of Wage Dispersion with Sorting

  • Jesper Bagger
  • Rasmus Lentz

This paper studies wage dispersion in an equilibrium on-the-job-search model with endogenous search intensity. Workers differ in their permanent skill level and firms differ with respect to productivity. Positive (negative) sorting results if the match production function is supermodular (submodular). The model is estimated on Danish matched employer-employee data. We find evidence of positive assortative matching. In the estimated equilibrium match distribution, the correlation between worker skill and firm productivity is 0.12. The assortative matching has a substantial impact on wage dispersion. We decompose wage variation into four sources: Worker heterogeneity, firm heterogeneity, frictions, and sorting. Worker heterogeneity contributes 51% of the variation, firm heterogeneity contributes 11%, frictions 23%, and finally sorting contributes 15%. We measure the output loss due to mismatch by asking how much greater output would be if the estimated population of matches were perfectly positively assorted. In this case, output would increase by 7.7%.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20031.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20031
Note: EFG LS
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  1. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage Bargaining with On-the-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 323-364, 03.
  2. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  3. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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  7. Jesper Bagger & François Fontaine & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2014. "Tenure, Experience, Human Capital and Wages: A Tractable Equilibrium Search Model of Wage Dynamics," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/7rep5mp5ij9, Sciences Po.
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  14. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00357751, HAL.
  15. Lentz, Rasmus, 2010. "Sorting by search intensity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1436-1452, July.
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  18. Jolivet, Gregory & Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2006. "The empirical content of the job search model: Labor mobility and wage distributions in Europe and the US," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 877-907, May.
  19. Jeremy Lise & Costas Meghir & Jean-Marc Robin, 2013. "Matching, Sorting and Wages," Working Papers hal-01070442, HAL.
  20. Grégory Jolivet & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "The empirical content of the job search model: Labor mobility and wage distributions in Europe and the US," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00279066, HAL.
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  23. 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.
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  27. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Frictional Wage Dispersion in Search Models: A Quantitative Assessment," NBER Working Papers 13674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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