This paper uses job applications data to test the existence of non-competitive, ex—ante rents in the labor market. We first examine whether
jobs that pay the legal minimum wage face an excessive supply of labor as
measured by the number of job applications received for the most recent
position filled by the firm. The results indicate that openings for jobs
that pay the minimum wage attract significantly more job applications than
jobs that pay either more or less than the minimnum wage. This spike in the
job application rate distribution indicates that ex-ante rents generated for
enp1oyees by an above market-level minimum wage do not appear to be
completely dissipated by employer actions.
The second part of the paper uses a similar approach to examine whether jobs in high-wage industries pay above market-clearing wage rates. We find a
weak, positive relationship between inter-industry application differentials
and inter-industry wage differentials. In addition, our results indicate
that employer size has a sizeable positive effect on the job application rate
even after controlling for the wage rate. The paper considers several
possible explanations for these findings.