An empirical assessment of assortative matching in the labor market

Author: Rute Mendes, And Gerard J. van den Berg, And Maarten Lindeboom, And

Published in: Labour Economics 2010, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 987–997

Summary of Working paper 2007:30

In labor markets with worker and firm heterogeneity, the matching between firms and workers may be assortative, meaning that the most productive workers and firms team up. We investigate this with longitudinal population-wide matched employer-employee data from Portugal. Using dynamic panel data methods, we quantify a firm-specific productivity term for each firm, and we relate this to the skill distribution of workers in the firm. We find that there is positive assortative matching, in particular among long-lived firms. Using skill-specific estimates of an index of search frictions, we find that the results can only to a small extent be explained by heterogeneity of search frictions across worker skill groups.

Keywords: positive assortative matching, matched employer-employee data, productivity, skill, unobserved heterogeneity, sorting, fixed effects.
JEL Codes: J21, J24, D24, J63.