Discussion paper

DP3471 Do Good Workers Hurt Bad Workers - or is it the Other Way Around?

In this article, I study the effect of worker heterogeneities on wages and unemployment within the context of a directed search model. A worker's productivity in a given firm depends both on their type and on a worker-firm specific component. Firms advertise unconditional wage offers, and hire the most productive workers that show up. The resulting equilibrium is inefficient, as the wage premium paid to high-type workers is too high, and the number of high-type jobs too low compared to the output-maximizing solution. This reduces the welfare of high-type workers. My findings contrast with the findings in the literature on labour market segmentation, where the argument is that the existence of high-type workers forces down wages to low-type workers and thus reduces the welfare of this group.


Moen, E (2002), ‘DP3471 Do Good Workers Hurt Bad Workers - or is it the Other Way Around?‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3471. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp3471