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.
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 Economic Literature, 2021 59(1): 90-148. With R. Wright,B. Julien, and V. Guerrieri. This survey presents a comprehensive overview of the directed/competitive search literature. Go to paper
Journal of Economic Theory, 2010/145, 1354-1385. With Jan Eeckhout. Search affects competing mechanisms: if meetings with low types reduce those of high types, price posting and market separation replace auctions. Go to paper
American Economic Journal - Macroeconomics, forthcoming 2022, with Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. In a field experiment, we study how job seekers respond to posted wages by assigning wages randomly to pairs of otherwise similar vacancies in a large number of professions. Higher wages attract significantly more interest, but still a non-trivial number of applicants only reveal an interest in the low wage vacancy - qualitatively in line with a directed search model with multiple applications and on-the-job search. Go to paper
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
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
American Economic Review, 2015, Vol 105 (10), 3030-3060. With Leo Kaas. We propose a tractable competitive search model with heterogeneous multi-worker firms, and investigate firm growth and business cycles. Go to paper
American Economic Review P&P, 2017, 107(5): 158–162 With J. Greenwood, C. Santos & M. Tertilt. In a quantitative equilibrium model of sexual behavior and HIV/AIDS transmission we study policies that encourage long-term partnerships. Go to paper