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Heterogeneity, selection and labor market disparities

We study the incentives to improve ability in a model where heterogeneous firms and workers interact in a labor market characterized by matching frictions and costly screening. When effort in improving ability raises both the mean and the variance of the resulting ability distribution, multiple equilibria may arise. In the high-effort equilibrium, heterogeneity in ability is sufficiently large to induce firms to select the best workers, thereby confirming the belief that effort is important for finding good jobs. In the low-effort equilibrium, ability is not sufficiently dispersed to justify screening, thereby confirming the belief that effort is not so important. The model has implications for wage inequality, the distribution of firm characteristics, sorting patterns between firms and workers, and unemployment rates that can help explaining observed cross-country variation in socio-economic and labor market outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.econ.upf.edu/docs/papers/downloads/1402.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1402.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision: Mar 2015
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1402
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  2. Alessandra Bonfiglioli & Gino Gancia, 2014. "Growth, Selection and Appropriate Contracts," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 21-38, January.
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  12. Krueger, Dirk & Perri, Fabrizio & Pistaferri, Luigi & Violante, Giovanni L, 2009. "Cross Sectional Facts for Macroeconomists," CEPR Discussion Papers 7582, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Giorgina Brown & John Micklewright & Sylke V. Schnepf & Robert Waldmann, 2007. "International surveys of educational achievement: how robust are the findings?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(3), pages 623-646.
  14. Larry Samuelson & George J. Mailath & Avner Shaked, 2000. "Endogenous Inequality in Integrated Labor Markets with Two-Sided Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 46-72, March.
  15. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2006. "Labor markets and monetary policy: A new-Keynesian model with unemployement," Economics Working Papers 1076, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2008.
  16. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  17. Piketty, Thomas, 1998. "Self-fulfilling beliefs about social status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 115-132, October.
  18. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  20. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Wages, Unemployment and Inequality with Heterogeneous Firms and Workers," NBER Working Papers 14122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
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