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Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity

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  • Fabien Postel-Vinay
  • Jean-Marc Robin

Abstract

We consider an equilibrium search model with on-the-job search where Þrms set wages. If employers are perfectly aware of all workers job opportunities, then when an employee receives an outside job offer, it is optimal for their employer to try to retain them by matching the offer, so long as the resulting wage doesnt exceed the worker.s productivity. A Bertrand competition is thus triggered between the incumbent employer and the.poacher., which results in a wage increase for the worker. However, if workers are able to vary their search intensity, then this offer-matching policy runs into a moral hazard problem. Knowing that outside offers lead to wage increases, workers are induced to search more intensively, which is costly for the Þrms. Assuming that Þrms can commit never to match outside offers, we examine the set of Þrm types for which it is preferable to do so. We derive sufficient conditions for the equilibrium to be of the sort all Þrms match or no Þrm matches. Finally, computed examples show that, even though virtually any situation can be observed in equilibrium when the sufficient conditions are not met, a plausible pattern is one where a dual labor market emerges, with bad jobs at low-porductivity, nomatching arms and good jobs at high-poductiviy, matching arms.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pdjkuc9g8grh35j2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "The Distribution of Earnings in an Equilibrium Search Model with State-Dependent Offers and Counteroffers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 989-1016, November.
    2. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    3. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 305-358, May.
    4. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
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    7. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & Van den Berg, Gerard J, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model with Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1039-1074, November.
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    11. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
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    23. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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