Tenure, Experience, Human Capital and Wages: A Tractable Equilibrium Search Model of Wage Dynamics

Jesper Bagger, Francois Fontaine, Fabien Postel-Vinay, Jean-Marc Robin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop and estimate an equilibrium job search model of worker careers, allowing for human capital accumulation, employer heterogeneity and individual-level shocks. Career wage growth is decomposed into the contributions of human capital and job search, within and between jobs. Human capital accumulation is largest for highly educated workers, and both human capital accumulation and job search contribute to the observed concavity of wage-experience profiles. The contribution from job search to wage growth, both within- and between-job, declines over the first ten years of a career - the `job-shopping' phase of a working life - after which workers settle into high-quality jobs and use outside offers to generate gradual wage increases, thus reaping the benefits from competition between employers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1551-1596
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Job Search
  • Human Capital Accumulation
  • Within-Job Wage Growth
  • Between-Job Wage Growth
  • Individual Shocks
  • Structural Estimatoin
  • Matched Employer-Employee Data

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