A Human Capital Theory of Who Escapes the Grasp of the Local Monopsonist
Over the last thirty years, there has been a rise in several empirical measures of local labor market monopsony power. The monopsonist has a profit incentive to offer lower wages to local workers. Mobile high skill workers can avoid the lower monopsony wages by moving to other more competitive local labor markets featuring a higher skill price vector. We develop a Roy Model of heterogeneous worker sorting across local labor markets that has several empirical implications. Monopsony markets are predicted to experience a “brain drain” over time. Using data over four decades we document this deskilling associated with local monopsony power. This means that observed cross-sectional wage gaps in monopsony markets partially reflects sorting on worker ability. The rise of work from home may act as a substitute for high-skill worker migration from monopsony markets.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.