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Alternative Theories of Wage Dispersion

  • Damien Gaumont

    ()

    (Universite Pantheon-Assas (Paris II))

  • Martin Schindler

    ()

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Randall Wright

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

We analyze labor market models where the law of one price does not hold; i.e., models with equilibrium wage dispersion. We begin assuming workers are ex ante heterogeneous, and highlight a flaw with this approach: if search is costly, the market shuts down. We then assume workers are homogeneous but matches are ex post heterogeneous. This model is robust to search costs, and delivers equilibria equilibrium wage dispersion. However, we prove the law of two prices holds: generically we cannot get more than two wages. We explore several other models, including one combining ex ante and ex post heterogeneity; this model is robust, and can deliver more than two-point wage distributions.

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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 05-017.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 23 Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:05-017
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  1. Ken Burdett & Randall Wright, 1998. "Two-Sided Search with Nontransferable Utility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 220-245, January.
  2. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1984. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 824-40, October.
  3. Elisabeth Curtis & Randall Wright, 2002. "Price setting, price dispersion, and the value of money - or - The law of two prices," Working Paper 0209, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. 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.
  5. Peter Diamond, 1987. "Consumer Differences and Prices in a Search Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 429-436.
  6. Albrecht, James & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1985. "The Efficiency of Search Under Competition and Monopsony," Working Papers 85-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  7. Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415.
  9. Gaumont Damien & Schindler Martin & Wright Randall, 2006. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion: An Example," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-18, October.
  10. P. Diamond, 1980. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Working papers 268, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1990. "Estimating a Market Equilibrium Search Model from Panel Data on Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 783-808, July.
  12. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
  13. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2007. "Empirical labor search: A survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 531-564, February.
  14. Berg, G.J. & Ridder, G., 1993. "An empirical equilibrium search model of the labour market," Serie Research Memoranda 0039, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  15. Gaumont D. & Schindler M. & Wright R., 2005. "“Alternative Theories of Wage Dispersion”," Working Papers ERMES 0505, ERMES, University Paris 2.
  16. Rafael Rob, 1985. "Equilibrium Price Distributions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 487-504.
  17. Eckstein, Zvi & Mortensen, Dale T., 2006. "Labor search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 807-810, May.
  18. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  19. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  20. Diamond, Peter A, 1981. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment, and Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 798-812, August.
  21. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
  22. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  23. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, March.
  24. Masters, Adrian M, 1999. "Wage Posting in Two-Sided Search and the Minimum Wage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 809-26, November.
  25. James W. Albrecht & Susan B. Vroman, 1992. "Non-Existence of Single-Wage Equilibria in Search Models with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 617-624.
  26. Jafarey, Saqib & Masters, Adrian, 2003. " Output, Prices, and the Velocity of Money in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 871-88, December.
  27. Richard D. MacMinn, 1980. "Job Search and the Labor Dropout Problem Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(1), pages 69-87.
  28. Albrecht, James W & Vroman, Susan B, 1998. "Nash Equilibrium Efficiency Wage Distributions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 183-203, February.
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