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12:30 - 13:45 25 March 2013

Wage Dispersion and Search Behavior


IFS Seminar Room | Institute for Fiscal Studies (link Map)
7 Ridgmount Street | London | WC1E 7AE |

Open to: Academic | Student
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Robert Hall, Stanford

We use a rich new body of data on the experiences of unemployed job-seekers to determine the sources of wage dispersion and to create a search model consistent with the acceptance decisions the job-seekers made. From the data and the model, we identify the distributions of four key variables: offered wages, offered non-wage job values, the value of the job-seeker's non-work alternative, and the job-seeker's personal productivity. We resolve the tension between the fairly high dispersion of the values job- seekers assign to their job offers which suggest a high value to sampling from multiple offers and the fact that the job-seekers often accept the first offer they receive. An influential recent paper by Hornstein, Krusell, and Violante called attention to this tension. Our resolution rests on the job-ladder model, where unemployed job-seekers accept an offer that beats their non-work value, possibly as an interim job, because they continue to seek jobs while working.


Institute for Fiscal Studies
020 7291 4800 |


Seminar paper