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The Quality Distribution of Jobs and the Structure of Wages in Search Equilibrium

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  • Steven J. Davis

Abstract

When match formation is costly and wage determination is decentralized, privately optimal investments in job and worker quality diverge from socially efficient outcomes. To explore this issue, I consider search equilibrium environments with endogenous quality distributions for jobs and workers. I show that a search equilibrium with decentralized wage setting exhibits excessive relative supplies of inferior jobs and inferior workers. Moreover, there are fundamental tensions between the standard wage-setting condition for an efficient total supply of jobs (and workers) in two-sided search models and the conditions required for efficient mixes of jobs and workers. I also derive the efficient wage structure, contrast its properties to the decentralized wage structure and evaluate the welfare and productivity gains of moving to an efficient wage structure. Numerical exercises show that centralized bargaining between a labor union and an employer confederation over the structure of wages can improve productivity and welfare by compressing job-related wage differentials.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven J. Davis, 2001. "The Quality Distribution of Jobs and the Structure of Wages in Search Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 8434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8434 Note: EFG LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dale T. Mortensen, 1982. "The Matching Process as a Noncooperative Bargaining Game," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Information and Uncertainty, pages 233-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Davis, Steven J. & Henrekson, Magnus, 2005. "Wage-setting institutions as industrial policy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 345-377, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Hübler, Olaf & Kraft, Kornelius, 2008. "Flexibilisierungspotenziale bei heterogenen Arbeitsmärkten : eine Einführung (Potentials for increasing flexibility in heterogeneous labour markets : an introduction)," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 41(2/3), pages 95-116.
    2. Davis, Steven J. & Henrekson, Magnus, 2005. "Wage-setting institutions as industrial policy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 345-377, June.
    3. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:41:i:2/3:p:95-116 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Wesselbaum, Dennis, 2011. "Sector-specific productivity shocks in a matching model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 2674-2682.
    5. Danthine, Samuel, 2005. "Two-Sided Search, Heterogeneous Skills and Labor Market Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1572, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Jansen, Marcel, 2010. "Job auctions and hold-ups," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 608-619, June.
    7. Navarro, Lucas, 2011. "Efficiency of two sided investments in an equilibrium unemployment framework," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 1090-1098, May.
    8. Gautier, Pieter A. & Wolthoff, Ronald P., 2009. "Simultaneous search with heterogeneous firms and ex post competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 311-319, June.
    9. Forslund, Anders & Lindh, Thomas, 2004. "Decentralisation of bargaining and manufacturing employment: Sweden 1970-96," Working Paper Series 2004:3, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    10. Tang, Jenn-Hong, 2007. "Gross job flows and technology shocks in nondurable and durable goods sectors," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 326-354.
    11. Arnaud Chéron & Jean‐Olivier Hairault & François Langot, 2011. "Age‐Dependent Employment Protection," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1477-1504, December.
    12. Yılmaz Kılıçaslan & Erol Taymaz, 2008. "Labor market institutions and industrial performance: an evolutionary study," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 477-492, August.
    13. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John C. Haltiwanger, 2013. "The Establishment-Level Behavior of Vacancies and Hiring," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 581-622.
    14. Wesselbaum, Dennis, 2015. "Sectoral labor market effects of fiscal spending," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 19-35.
    15. Jansen, Marcel, 2003. "Can job competition prevent hold-ups?," UC3M Working papers. Economics we035120, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    16. John Kennes, 2004. "Competitive Auctions: Theory and Application," Discussion Papers 04-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    17. Lucas Navarro, 2007. "Labor market policies in a sector specific search model with heterogeneous firms and workers," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 22(2), pages 29-45, December.
    18. Emanuela Ciapanna, 2011. "Directed matching with endogenous Markov probability: clients or competitors?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(1), pages 92-120, March.
    19. Ponsatí­, Clara & Sákovics, József, 2008. "Queues, not just mediocrity: Inefficiency in decentralized markets with vertical differentiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 998-1014, July.
    20. Márcio Corrêa & Mário Centeno, 2006. "Technological Progress And Average Job Matching Quality," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 166, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    21. Olszewski, Wojciech & Wolinsky, Asher, 2016. "Search for an object with two attributes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 145-160.
    22. King, Ian & Kennes, John & Julien, Benoit, 2001. "Residual Wage Disparity in Directed Search Equilibrium," Working Papers 209, Department of Economics, The University of Auckland.
    23. Clara Ponsati & Jozsef Sakovics, 2005. "Markets for professional services: queues and mediocrity," ESE Discussion Papers 133, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    24. Luigi Bonatti, 2000. "A two-sector model of the effects of wage compression on unemployment and industry distribution of employment," Department of Economics Working Papers 0001, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    25. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 2007. "Understanding European unemployment with matching and search-island models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2139-2179, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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