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An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages

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  • Francisco M. Gonzalez
  • Shouyong Shi

Abstract

We examine the labor market effects of incomplete information about the workers' own job-finding process. Search outcomes convey valuable information, and learning from search generates endogenous heterogeneity in workers' beliefs about their job-finding probability. We characterize this process and analyze its interactions with job creation and wage determination. Our theory sheds new light on how unemployment can affect workers' labor market outcomes and wage determination, providing a rational explanation for discouragement as the consequence of negative search outcomes. In particular, longer unemployment durations are likely to be followed by lower re-employment wages because a worker's beliefs about his job-finding process deteriorate with unemployment duration. Moreover, our analysis provides a set of useful results on dynamic programming with optimal learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2009. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages," Working Papers tecipa-384, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-384
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Learning; Wages; Unemployment; Directed search; Monotone comparative statics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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