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Signalling to experts


Kurlat, Pablo; Scheuer, Florian (2021). Signalling to experts. Review of Economic Studies, 88(2):800-850.

Abstract

We study competitive equilibria in a signalling economy with heterogeneously informed buyers. In terms of the classic Spence (1973, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 87, 355—374) model of job market signalling, firms have access to direct but imperfect information about worker types, in addition to observing their education. Firms can be ranked according to the quality of their information, i.e., their expertise. In equilibrium, some high-type workers forgo signalling and are hired by better informed firms, which make positive profits. Workers’ education decisions and firms’ use of their expertise are strategic complements, allowing for multiple equilibria that can be Pareto ranked. We characterize wage dispersion and the extent of signalling as a function of the distribution of expertise among firms. Our model can also be applied to a variety of other signalling problems, including securitization, corporate financial structure, insurance markets, or dividend policy.

Abstract

We study competitive equilibria in a signalling economy with heterogeneously informed buyers. In terms of the classic Spence (1973, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 87, 355—374) model of job market signalling, firms have access to direct but imperfect information about worker types, in addition to observing their education. Firms can be ranked according to the quality of their information, i.e., their expertise. In equilibrium, some high-type workers forgo signalling and are hired by better informed firms, which make positive profits. Workers’ education decisions and firms’ use of their expertise are strategic complements, allowing for multiple equilibria that can be Pareto ranked. We characterize wage dispersion and the extent of signalling as a function of the distribution of expertise among firms. Our model can also be applied to a variety of other signalling problems, including securitization, corporate financial structure, insurance markets, or dividend policy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Economics and econometrics
Language:English
Date:22 March 2021
Deposited On:08 Jan 2021 14:44
Last Modified:26 Mar 2021 07:45
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0034-6527
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/restud/rdaa068

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Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)