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Wage Differentials, Discrimination and Efficiency

By Shouyong Shi

Abstract

In this paper I construct a search model of a large labor market in which workers are heterogeneous in productivity and (homogeneous) firms post wages and a ranking of workers to direct workers' search. I establish the following results. First, the wage differential is negatively related to productivity when the productivity differential is small, while a positive relationship emerges when the productivity differential is large. Second, as the productivity differential decreases to zero, the reverse wage differential increases and so it remains strictly positive in the limit. Third, high-productivity workers are not discriminated against even when they have a lower wage, because they always have a higher priority in employment and higher expected wage than low-productivity workers. Fourth, the equilibrium is socially efficient, and so the wage differential and the ranking are part of the efficient mechanism. Finally, I provide numerical examples to illustrate the wage distribution.Search; Wage Differential; Discrimination.

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