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CEP discussion paper

Labor Pooling, Labor Poaching and Spatial Clustering

When firms cluster in the same local labor market, they face a trade-off between the benefits of labor pooling (i.e., access to workers whose knowledge help reduce costs) and the costs of labor poaching (i.e., loss of some key workers to competition and the indirect effect of a higher wage bill to retain the others). We explore this trade-off in a duopoly game. Depending on market size and on the degree of horizontal differentiation between products, we characterize the strategic choices of firms regarding locations, wages, poaching and prices. Our results show that co-location, although it is always efficient, is not in general the equilibrium outcome.

Pierre-Philippe Combes and Gilles Duranton

September 2001     Paper Number CEPDP0510

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