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Informal versus Formal Search: Which Yields a Better Pay?

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  • Tumen, Semih

Abstract

Estimates on the effect of job contact method -- i.e., informal versus formal search -- on wage offers vary considerably across studies, with some of them finding a positive correlation between getting help from informal connections and obtaining high-paying jobs, while others finding a negative one. In this paper, I investigate the sources of discrepancies in these empirical results. Using a formal job search framework, I derive an equilibrium wage distribution which reveals that the informal search yields for some groups higher and for some others lower wages than formal search. The key result is the existence of nonmonotonicities in wage offers. Two potential sources of these nonmonotonicities exist: (i) peer effects and (ii) unobserved worker heterogeneity in terms of the inherent cost of maintaining connections within a productive informal network. The model predicts that a greater degree of unobserved heterogeneity tilts the estimates toward producing a positive correlation between informal search and higher wages, whereas stronger peer influences tend to yield a negative correlation. This conclusion informs the empirical research in the sense that identification of the true correlation between job contact methods and wage offers requires a careful assessment of the unobserved heterogeneity and peer influences in the relevant sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Tumen, Semih, 2013. "Informal versus Formal Search: Which Yields a Better Pay?," MPRA Paper 50446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:50446
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zaharieva, Anna, 2013. "Double Matching: Social Contacts in a Labour Market with On-the-Job Search," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79891, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Chen, Yuanyuan & Wang, Le & Zhang, Min, 2017. "Informal Search, Bad Search? The Effects of Job Search Method on Wages among Rural Migrants in Urban China," IZA Discussion Papers 11058, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Zaharieva, Anna, 2013. "Social welfare and wage inequality in search equilibrium with personal contacts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 107-121.
    4. Trockel, Walter, 2014. "Robustness of intermediate agreements for the discrete Raiffa solution," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 32-36.
    5. Stupnytska, Yuliia & Zaharieva, Anna, 2015. "Explaining U-shape of the referral hiring pattern in a search model with heterogeneous workers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 211-233.
    6. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0672-x is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Zaharieva, Anna, 2015. "Social contacts and referrals in a labor market with on-the-job search," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 27-43.
    8. Stupnytska, Yuliia & Zaharieva, Anna, 2015. "Explaining the U-Shape of the Referral Hiring Pattern in a Search Model with Heterogeneous Workers," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 511, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job search; informal networks; peer effects; heterogeneity; nonmonotonicities.;

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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