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Wage inequality in a frictional labor market

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  • Joel Shapiro

Abstract

Wage inequality in the United States has grown substantially in the past two decades. Standard supply-demand analysis in the empirics of inequality (e.g.Katz and Murphy (1992)) indicates that we may attribute some of this trend to an outward shift in the demand for high skilled labor. In this paper we examine a simple static channel in which the wage premium for skill may grow -increased firm entry. We consider a model of wage dispersion where there are two types of workers and homogeneous firms must set wages and preferences for what type of worker they would like to hire. We find that both the wage differential and the demand for high skill workers can increase with the proportion of high skill workers -these high skill workers therefore 'create' their own demand without exogenous factors. In addition, within group wage inequality can increase in step with the between group wage inequality. Simulations of the model are provided in order to compare the findings with empirical results.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Shapiro, 2002. "Wage inequality in a frictional labor market," Economics Working Papers 614, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:614
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-659, September.
    2. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1259-1278, December.
    3. Shouyong Shi, 1998. "Frictional Assignment," Working Papers 988, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    4. Kevin Lang & Michael Manove & William T. Dickens, 2005. "Racial Discrimination in Labor Markets with Posted Wage Offers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1327-1340, September.
    5. Albrecht, James W. & Gautier, Pieter A. & Vroman, Susan B., 2003. "Matching with multiple applications," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 67-70, January.
    6. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
    8. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089.
    9. Joel Shapiro, 2002. "Wage inequality in a frictional labor market," Economics Working Papers 614, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    10. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
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    12. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 2000. "Wage and Technology Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 585-607.
    13. Shi, Shouyong, 2001. "Frictional Assignment. I. Efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 232-260, June.
    14. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Assignment of Workers to Jobs in an Economy with Coordination Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 996-1025, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joel Shapiro, 2002. "Wage inequality in a frictional labor market," Economics Working Papers 614, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Ben Heijdra & Jenny Ligthart, 2009. "Labor tax reform, unemployment, and search," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(1), pages 82-104, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage posting; wage inequality; search;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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