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Wage inequality in a frictional labor market

Joel Shapiro

Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

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.

Keywords: Wage posting; wage inequality; search (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D83 J31 J41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2002-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab
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