On involuntary unemployment: notes on efficiency-wage competition
This paper introduces a model of efficiency-wage competition along the lines put forward by Hahn (1987). Specifically, I analyse a two-firm economy in which employers screen their workforce by means of increasing wage offers competing one another for high-quality employees. The main results are the following. First, using a specification of effort such that the problem of firms is concave, optimal wage offers are strategic complements. Second, a symmetric Nash equilibrium can be locally stable under the assumption that firms adjust their wage offers in the direction of increasing profits by conjecturing that any wage offer above (below) equilibrium will lead competitors to underbid (overbid) such an offer. Finally, the exploration of possible labour market equilibria reveals that effort is counter-cyclical.
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