Retained Earnings Dynamic, Internal Promotions and Walrasian Equilibrium
In the early stages of the process of industry evolution, firms are financially constrained and might pay different wages to workers according to their expectations about the prospects for advancement offered by each firm’s job ladder. This paper argues that, nevertheless, if the output market is competitive, the positive predictions of the perfectly competitive model are still a good description of the long run outcome. If firms maximize the discounted sum of constrained profits, financing expenditure out of retained earnings, profits are driven down to zero as the perfectly competitive model predicts. Ex ante identical firms may follow different growth paths in which workers work for a lower entry-wage in firms expected to grow more. In the steady state, however, workers performing the same job, in ex-ante identical firms, receive the same wage. I explain when the long run outcome is efficient, when it is not, and why firms that produce inefficiently might drive the efficient ones out of the market even when the steady state has the positive properties of aWalrasian equilibrium. To some extent, it is not technological efficiency but workers’ self-fulfilling expectations about their prospects for advancement within the firm that explains which firms have lower unit costs, grow more, and dominate the market.
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