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Aggregate Returns to Individual Decisions

Development, Income Inequality and Competition for Jobs and Workers


Uwe Sunde

In general, economic decisions are made in order to maximize individual well-being or, equivalently, to maximize the returns of these decisions to the individual. However, while taking their environment as given, the decision-makers often do not explicitly take into account what consequences their decisions have on the aggregate level. Many macroeconomic phenomena can be seen as unintended or unforeseen consequences, ‘returns’, to the decisions of rational individuals. This book presents several models in this spirit. The first part investigates the role of individual education decisions for long-term development and international differences in earnings inequality. The second part focuses on the consequences of individual search decisions on the labor market for the observed patterns of job creation.
Contents: Individual Education Decisions – Life Expectancy Decisions – Education and Earnings Inequality – Individual Search Decisions – Disaggregate Matching – Strategic Hiring and Search – Unobserved Bilateral Search – Regional Mobility and Job Competition.