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Education and Job market signalling: How robust is the nexus?


  • Massimo Giannini


In this paper the Signalling approach to the explanation of wage differentials is analysed in a critical way. Departing from the classic Spence's model, the article shows how the introduction of inequalities in accessing to education leads to separating equilibria characterised by redistributive effects among workers and firms, with lower wages for high skill workers respect to the traditional model. Moreover pooling equilibria can also exist as effect of such inequalities; in this case a unique wage exists for all types of workers, operating as a redistributive effect from high-skill to low-skill workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Giannini, 1999. "Education and Job market signalling: How robust is the nexus?," Working Papers 35, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sap:wpaper:wp35

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:fth:prinin:357 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Georg Noldeke & Eric van Damme, 1990. "Signalling in a Dynamic Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23.
    3. Engers, Maxim, 1987. "Signalling with Many Signals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 663-674, May.
    4. Andrew Weiss, 1995. "Human Capital vs. Signalling Explanations of Wages," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 133-154, Fall.
    5. Joseph G. Altonji, 1995. "The Effects of High School Curriculum on Education and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 409-438.
    6. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    7. Cho, In-Koo & Sobel, Joel, 1990. "Strategic stability and uniqueness in signaling games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 381-413, April.
    8. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "Labor Market Effects of School Quality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "The Theory of "Screening," Education, and the Distribution of Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 283-300, June.
    10. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-661, May.
    11. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
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    More about this item


    Signalling; Human Capital; Inequality.;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games


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