We build a theoretical model to study the welfare effects and resulting policy implications of firms’ market power in a frictional labor market. Our environment has two main characteristics: wages play a role in allocating labor across firms and there is a finite number of agents. We find that the decentralized equilibrium is inefficient and that the firms’ market power results in the misallocation of workers from the high to the low-productivity firms. A minimum wage forces the low-productivity firms to increase their wage, leading them to hire even more often thereby exacerbating the inefficiencies. Moderate unemployment benefits can increase welfare because they limit firms’ market power by improving the workers’ outside option.
Market Power and Efficiency in a Search Model
In directed search with a finite population, minimum wages improve employment but reduce output and efficiency, and reverse for unemployment benefits.
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
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
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
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
Economic Journal, forthcoming. 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
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. Go to paper