DP11869 | Adverse Selection and Assortative Matching in Labor Markets

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We show that adverse selection in the labor market may generate negative assortative matching of workers and firms. In a model in which employers asymmetrically learn about the ability of their workers, high-productivity firms poach mediocre workers, whereas low-productivity firms retain high-ability workers. We show that this flipping property is caused by information asymmetry alone. Our model has a number of positive and normative predictions: External promotions are not an indication of high talent, within-job wage growth is higher in industries with more revenue dispersion, and non-compete clauses are inefficient in industries with significant firm heterogeneity.