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Wage Profiles and Income Inequality among Identical Workers: A Simple Formalization

  • Akiomi Kitagawa

This paper explores the implications of the possible bankruptcies of firms for their own wage schemes and the structure of the labor market using a two-period general equilibrium model. The bankruptcy risk flattens the wage profile of each firm, weakening its incentive effect and thereby making room for the efficiency wage to be used as a supplementary incentive device. This, in turn, stratifies the labor market into the primary market, in which job rationing is observed, and the secondary market, in which job rationing is not observed. A substantial utility differential emerges between those who have found a job in the primary market and those who have not, even though there is no difference in their innate abilities. This differential widens as bankruptcies become more likely. Moreover, the dual structure of the labor market renders the employment size in the primary market too small to attain a social optimum.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10097/56977
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File URL: http://ir.library.tohoku.ac.jp/re/bitstream/10097/56977/1/terg314.pdf
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Paper provided by Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tohoku University in its series TERG Discussion Papers with number 314.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:toh:tergaa:314
Contact details of provider: Postal: Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8476
Web page: http://www.econ.tohoku.ac.jp/econ/english/index.htmlEmail:


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  1. Hamaaki, Junya & Hori, Masahiro & Maeda, Saeko & Murata, Keiko, 2011. "Changes in the Japanese Employment System in the Two Lost Decades," PIE/CIS Discussion Paper 511, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  3. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  4. Hori, Masahiro & Iwamoto, Koichiro, 2012. "Lifetime Labor Income and the Erosion of Seniority-Based Wages in Japan: Evidence Based on Administrative Data Records," CIS Discussion paper series 554, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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