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An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages

  • Francisco M. Gonzalez
  • Shouyong Shi

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.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-384.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 08 Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-384
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  1. Amir, Rabah & Mirman, Leonard J & Perkins, William R, 1991. "One-Sector Nonclassical Optimal Growth: Optimality Conditions and Comparative Dynamics," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 625-44, August.
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  37. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2007. "An Equilibrium Theory of Declining Reservation Wages and Learning," Working Papers tecipa-292, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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