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Opening the Black Box of the Matching Function: The Power of Words

University of Pennsylvania and National Bureau of Economic ResearchUniversity of Toronto

On the leading job board, high-wage job postings unexpectedly attract fewer applicants, and this is the case even within a detailed occupation. Viewed through the lens of our directed search model, this negative relationship is indicative of substantial applicant heterogeneity within an occupation. Empirically, we find that job title heterogeneity is key: within a job title, jobs with 10% higher wages do attract 7.7% more applicants. Furthermore, our findings are consistent with a higher return to worker quality for hires in “manager” and “senior” job titles. Overall, our findings demonstrate the power of words in the matching process.