Two cornerstones of empirical and policy analysis of firms in industrial organization, macro and labor are the determinants of the firm size distribution, and the determinants of sorting between workers and firms. We propose a unifying theory of production where management resolves a tradeoff between hiring more versus better workers. The span of control or size is therefore intimately intertwined with the sorting pattern. We provide a condition for sorting that captures this tradeoff between the quantity and quality of workers and that generalizes Becker’s sorting condition. A system of differential equations determines the equilibrium allocation, the firm size and wages, and allows us to characterize the allocation of the quality and quantity of labor to firms of different productivity. We show that our model nests a large number of widely used existing models. We also augment the model to incorporate labor market frictions in the presence of sorting with large firms.
Assortative Matching with Large Firms
Econometrica. 2018 86(1): 85-132. With Jan Eeckhout.
When heterogeneous firms can choose both how many and which workers to hire, we illustrate consequences for firm-size and wage inequality.
Note a correction for the condition with capital: corrigendum.
Econometrica, 2010, Vol. 78(2), 539–574. With Jan Eeckhout. In search models with price competition the sorting of heterogeneous buyers and sellers depends on complementarities both in output and in search. Go to paper
Review of Economic Studies, 2011, Vol. 78 (3), 872-906. With Jan Eeckhout. Wage and employment data can identify the strength of sorting in search models, though two-sided fixed effects are always mis-specified. Go to paper
Journal of Monetary Economics, 2008, Vol. 55, pp. 1054-1066. With M. Galenianos. We characterize price dispersion and welfare in a monetary model with private information: inflation is regressive even though the rich hold more money. Go to paper
Journal of Political Economy, 2017, 124(1), 224-264. With G. Grossman & E. Helpman. (simulations, matlab). We introduce two-sided heterogeneity into a Hecksher-Ohlin-style trade model to study factor reallocation and wage inequality within and across sectors. Go to paper
Inferring Risk Perceptions and Preferences using Choice from Insurance Menus: Theory and Evidence
Economic Journal, 2021 131: 713-744. With Ericson, Spinnewijn &, Starc Demand for insurance can be driven by high risk aversion or high risk, and we show how to separate the two using observed market shares. Go to paper
Journal of the European Economic Association, 2022, 20(6), 2317–2352. This paper showcases studies that illustrate the potential of analyzing online job search data and of intervening in the online job search process, and highlights conditions under which some of the recent interventions are likely to improve market outcomes overall, rather than improving only the outcomes for the treated individuals. Go to paper
B.E. Journals of Theoretical Economics, 2013, Vol 13 (1). With S. Ludwig and A. Sandroni. We document a revealed preference for randomization for “social goods”, while such non-standard behavior is not present for private consumption goods. Go to paper
International Economic Review, 2012, Vol 53 (1), 1-21. With M. Galenianos. We study a finite directed-search wage posting game among heterogeneous firms (allowing for risk aversion, moral hazard,…), including limit theorems. Go to paper