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It Ain’t Where You’re From, It’s Where You’re At: Hiring Origins, Firm Heterogeneity, and Wages

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  • Sabrina L. Di Addario
  • Patrick M. Kline
  • Raffaele Saggio
  • Mikkel Sølvsten

Abstract

Sequential auction models of labor market competition predict that the wages required to successfully poach a worker from a rival employer will depend on the productivities of both the poached and poaching firms. We develop a theoretically grounded extension of the two-way fixed effects model of Abowd et al. (1999) in which log hiring wages are comprised of a worker fixed effect, a fixed effect for the “destination” firm hiring the worker, and a fixed effect for the “origin” firm, or labor market state, from which the worker was hired. This specification is shown to nest the reduced form for hiring wages delivered by semi-parametric formulations of the canonical sequential auction model of Postel-Vinay and Robin (2002b) and its generalization in Bagger et al. (2014). Fitting the model to Italian social security records, origin effects are found to explain only 0.7% of the variance of hiring wages among job movers, while destination effects explain more than 23% of the variance. Across firms, destination effects are more than 13 times as variable as origin effects. Interpreted through the lens of Bagger et al. (2014)’s model, this finding requires that workers possess implausibly strong bargaining strength. Studying a cohort of workers entering the Italian labor market in 2005, we find that differences in origin effects yield essentially no contribution to the evolution of the gender gap in hiring wages, while differences in destination effects explain the majority of the gap at the time of labor market entry. These results suggest that where a worker is hired from tends to be relatively inconsequential for their wages in comparison to where they are currently employed.

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  • Sabrina L. Di Addario & Patrick M. Kline & Raffaele Saggio & Mikkel Sølvsten, 2021. "It Ain’t Where You’re From, It’s Where You’re At: Hiring Origins, Firm Heterogeneity, and Wages," NBER Working Papers 28917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28917
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    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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