It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at: Hiring origins, firm heterogeneity, and wages

Sabrina Di Addario, Patrick Kline, Raffaele Saggio*, Mikkel Sølvsten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Sequential auction models of labor market competition predict that the wages required to successfully poach a worker from a rival employer will depend on the productivities of both the poached and poaching firms. We develop a theoretically grounded extension of the two-way fixed effects model of Abowd et al. (1999) in which log hiring wages are comprised of a worker fixed effect, a fixed effect for the “destination” firm hiring the worker, and a fixed effect for the “origin” firm, or labor market state, from which the worker was hired. This specification is shown to nest the reduced form for hiring wages delivered by semi-parametric formulations of the canonical sequential auction model of Postel-Vinay and Robin (2002b) and its generalization in Bagger et al. (2014). Fitting the model to Italian social security records, origin effects are found to explain only 0.7% of the variance of hiring wages among job movers, while destination effects explain more than 23% of the variance. Across firms, destination effects are more than 13 times as variable as origin effects. Interpreted through the lens of Bagger et al. (2014)’s model, this finding requires that workers possess implausibly strong bargaining strength. Studying a cohort of workers entering the Italian labor market in 2005, we find that differences in origin effects yield essentially no contribution to the evolution of the gender gap in hiring wages, while differences in destination effects explain the majority of the gap at the time of labor market entry. These results suggest that where a worker is hired from tends to be relatively inconsequential for their wages in comparison to where they are currently employed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Econometrics
Pages (from-to)340-374
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Bargaining
  • Firm effects
  • Gender wage gap
  • Hiring wages
  • Sequential auctions


Dive into the research topics of 'It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at: Hiring origins, firm heterogeneity, and wages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this