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Identifying Sorting, In Theory

  • Philipp Kircher

    (UPenn)

  • Jan Eeckhout

    (UPF and UPenn)

We argue that using wage data alone, it is virtually impossible to identify whether Assortative Matching between worker and firm types is positive or negative. In standard competitive matching models the wages are determined by the marginal contribution of a worker, and the marginal contribution might be higher or lower for low productivity firms depending on the production function. For every production function that induces positive sorting we can find a production function that induces negative sorting but generates identical wages. This arises even when we allow for non-competitive mismatch, for example due to search frictions. Even though we cannot identify the sign of the sorting, we can identify the strength, i.e., the magnitude of the cross-partial, and the associated welfare loss. While we show analytically that standard fixed effects regressions are not suitable to recover the strength of sorting, we propose an alternative procedure that measures the strength of sorting in the presence of search frictions independent of the sign of the sorting.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2009 Meeting Papers with number 581.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed009:581
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  1. Shouyong Shi, 1998. "Frictional Assignment," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 74, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
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  4. Shimer, R. & Smith, L., 1997. "Assortative Matching and Search," Working papers 97-2b, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Ivar Ekeland & James Heckman & Lars Nesheim, 2002. "Identification and estimation of hedonic models," CeMMAP working papers CWP07/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  7. Mendes, Rute & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten, 2010. "An empirical assessment of assortative matching in the labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 919-929, December.
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  9. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2003. "Wage bargaining with on-the-job search : theory and evidence," Research Unit Working Papers 0212, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
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  13. repec:dgr:uvatin:20000067 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Stefan Bender & Till von Wachter, 2006. "In the Right Place at the Wrong Time: The Role of Firms and Luck in Young Workers' Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1679-1705, December.
  15. Ivar Ekeland & James J. Heckman & Lars Nesheim, 2002. "Identifying Hedonic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 304-309, May.
  16. Jan Eeckhout & Roberto Pinheiro, 2014. "Diverse Organizations And The Competition For Talent," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 625-664, 08.
  17. Alp Atakan, 2005. "Assortative Matching with Explicit Search Costs," 2005 Meeting Papers 218, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
  19. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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  22. Sattinger, Michael, 1975. "Comparative Advantage and the Distributions of Earnings and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 455-68, May.
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