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Wage Formation between Newly Hired Workers and Employers: Survey Evidence

  • Robert E. Hall

    (Stanford University)

  • Alan B. Krueger

    (Princeton University)

Some workers bargain with prospective employers before accepting a job. Others could bargain, but find it undesirable, because their right to bargain has induced a sufficiently favorable offer, which they accept. Yet others perceive that they cannot bargain over pay; they regard the posted wage as a take-it-or-leave-it opportunity. Theories of wage formation point to substantial differences in labor-market equilibrium between bargained and posted wages. The fraction of workers hired away from existing jobs is another key determinant of equilibrium, because a worker with an existing job has a better outside option in bargaining than does an unemployed worker. Our survey measures the incidences of wage posting, bargaining, and on-the-job search. We find that about a third of workers had precise information about pay when they first met with their employers, a sign of wage posting. We find that another third bargained over pay before accepting their current jobs. And about 40 percent of workers could have remained on their earlier jobs at the time they accepted their current jobs.

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File URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp016h440s45s
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 1095.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp016h440s45s
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  1. Hall, Robert E & Lazear, Edward P, 1984. "The Excess Sensitivity of Layoffs and Quits to Demand," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 233-57, April.
  2. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2009. "The Timing of Labor Market Expansions: New Facts and a New Hypothesis," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 1-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Guido Menzio, 2007. "A Theory of Partially Directed Search," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-006, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. McCall, John J, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-26, February.
  5. 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.
  6. Dale T. Mortensen, 1978. "Specific Capital and Labor Turnover," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 572-586, Autumn.
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