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Social Networks and Wages: It's All About Connections!

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  • Mauro Sylos Labini

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that networks of personal relations are very important in the micro dynamics of labor markets: irrespectively of the country and the occupation considered a high share of jobs are filled by social referrals. In this paper we add theoretical speculation and empirical evidence to this stylized fact shedding light on an apparent puzzle: the effect of informal contacts on wages. We, first, review the literature arguing that economic perspectives on the effect of social networks use on wages can benefit from considering differences in the nature of social ties. Second, we propose a formal model which considers two different informal contacts which we call "family" and "professional". The model predicts that while the use of the former type is likely to have a negative impact on wages, the opposite is true for the latter. Third, we use a relatively unexploited Italian data set to show how different ties have different properties and are likely to be used for different purposes. Finally, we concentrate on the relation between informal contacts and wages, obtaining results which are consistent with our theoretical insights.

Suggested Citation

  • Mauro Sylos Labini, 2004. "Social Networks and Wages: It's All About Connections!," LEM Papers Series 2004/10, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2004/10
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    12. Michele Pellizzari, 2010. "Do Friends and Relatives Really Help in Getting a Good Job?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 494-510, April.
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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. Zaharieva, Anna, 2013. "Social welfare and wage inequality in search equilibrium with personal contacts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 107-121.
    3. Bramoullé, Yann & Goyal, Sanjeev, 2016. "Favoritism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 16-27.
    4. Ponzo, Michela & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2010. "The use of informal networks in Italy: Efficiency or favoritism?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 89-99, January.
    5. Gabriella Berloffa & Francesca Modena & Paola Villa, 2014. "Changing Labour Market Opportunities for Young People in Italy and the Role of the Family of Origin," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 227-252.
    6. Trockel, Walter, 2014. "Robustness of intermediate agreements for the discrete Raiffa solution," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 32-36.
    7. Durante, Ruben & Labartino, Giovanna & Perotti, Roberto, 2011. "Academic Dynasties: Decentralization and Familism in the Italian Academia," CEPR Discussion Papers 8645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. 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.
    9. Michele Mosca & Francesco Pastore, 2009. "Wage Effects of Recruitment Methods: The Case of the Italian Social Service Sector," AIEL Series in Labour Economics,in: Marco Musella & Sergio Destefanis (ed.), Paid and Unpaid Labour in the Social Economy. An International Perspective, edition 1, chapter 8, pages 115-141 AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
    10. Valentina Meliciani & Debora Radicchia, 2014. "Informal Network, Spatial Mobility and Overeducation in the Italian Labour Market," Working Papers 19, Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research, revised Nov 2014.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.

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    Keywords

    Labor Markets; Job Search; Social Networks;

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