A Model of Dual Labor Markets When Product Demand is Uncertain

Posted: 29 Jan 2014

See all articles by James B. Rebitzer

James B. Rebitzer

Boston University School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Bard College - The Levy Economics Institute

Lowell J. Taylor

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Date Written: November 1991

Abstract

Dual labor market theory is an attempt to understand observed variation in wages and job quality. The theory argues that market processes tend to produce "primary" jobs characterized by high wages and longjob tenure, and "contingent" (or "secondary") jobs that typically offer low wages and short tenure. The key feature distinguishing dual labor market theory from such alternative explanations as human capital theory or the theory of compensating wage differentials, is the nature of the labor market equilibrium. In dual labor market theory, equilibrium is characterized by an excess supply of qualified workers to primary jobs. Mobility between contingent and primary jobs will therefore be limited, and "good" workers may be stuck in "bad" jobs.

Suggested Citation

Rebitzer, James B. and Taylor, Lowell J., A Model of Dual Labor Markets When Product Demand is Uncertain (November 1991). Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 106, No. 4, 1991. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2386766

James B. Rebitzer (Contact Author)

Boston University School of Management ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States
617 353 4605 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bard College - The Levy Economics Institute

Blithewood
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504
United States

Lowell J. Taylor

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-3278 (Phone)
412-268-7036 (Fax)

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