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Harmful signaling in matching markets

  • Alexey Kushnir

Some labor markets have recently developed formal signaling mechanisms, e.g. the signaling for interviews in the job market for new Ph.D. economists. We evaluate the effect of such mechanisms on two-sided matching markets by considering a game of incomplete information between firms and workers. Workers have almost aligned preferences over firms: each worker has 'typical' commonly known preferences with probability close to one and 'atypical' idiosyncratic preferences with the complementary probability close to zero. Firms have commonly known preferences over workers. We show that the introduction of a signaling mechanism is harmful for this environment. Though signals transmit previously unavailable information, they also facilitate information asymmetry that leads to coordination failures. As a result, the introduction of a signaling mechanism lessens the expected number of matches when signals are informative.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 509.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:509
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