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Employment, Hours, and Earnings in the Depression: An Analysis of EightManufacturing Industries

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  • Bernanke, Ben S

Abstract

This paper employs monthly, industry-level data in a study of Depression-era labor markets. As in Robert Lucas (1970), the model usedhere assumes that employers can vary total labor input not only by changing the number of workers but also by changing the length of thework week. (This assumption seems particularly relevant to the 1930s, aperiod in which work weeks fluctuated sharply.) With aggregate demandtreated as exogenous and in conjunction with additional elements, themodel seems able to provide an empirical explanation of the behavior ofthe key labor market time series, including hours of work and real wages. Copyright 1986 by American Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 76 (1986)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 82-109

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:76:y:1986:i:1:p:82-109

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  1. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Estimation of Dynamic Labor Demand Schedules under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1009-44, December.
  2. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  3. Altonji, Joseph G, 1982. "The Intertemporal Substitution Model of Labour Market Fluctuations: An Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(5), pages 783-824, Special I.
  4. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rosen, Harvey S & Quandt, Richard E, 1978. "Estimation of a Disequilibrium Aggregate Labor Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(3), pages 371-79, August.
  6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1970. "Capacity, Overtime, and Empirical Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 23-27, May.
  7. Plessner, Yakir & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1983. "Unemployment and Wage Rigidity: The Demand Side," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 202-12, July.
  8. Rees, Albert, 1970. "On Equilibrium in Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 306-10, March-Apr.
  9. Orley Ashenfelter, 1977. "Unemployment as Disequilibrium in a Model of Aggregate Labor Supply," Working Papers 484, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
  11. Altonji, Joseph & Ashenfelter, Orley, 1980. "Wage Movements and the Labour Market Equilibrium Hypothesis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 217-45, August.
  12. Yellen, Janet L, 1984. "Efficiency Wage Models of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 200-205, May.
  13. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-54, Sept./Oct.
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Cited by:
  1. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1984. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University 735, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Alex Klein & Keisuke Otsu, 2013. "Efficiency, Distortions and Factor Utilization during the Interwar Period," Studies in Economics, Department of Economics, University of Kent 1317, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  3. Barlevy, Gadi & Tsiddon, Daniel, 2006. "Earnings inequality and the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 55-89, January.
  4. Ángel Luis Martin Roman & Alfonso Moral de Blas, 2002. "Efectos de las variaciones en el tiempo de trabajo sobre la ocupación adolescente y juvenil en el sector industrial: un análisis regional," Revista de Estudios Regionales, Universidades Públicas de Andalucía, vol. 1, pages 51-77.
  5. Edward E. Leamer & Christopher Thornberg, 1998. "Efforts and Wages: A New Look at the Inter-Industry Wage Differentials," NBER Working Papers 6626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Taylor, Jason E. & Neumann, Todd C., 2013. "The effect of institutional regime change within the new deal on industrial output and labor markets," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 582-598.
  7. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Productivity in Manufacturing and the Length of the Working Day: Evidence from the 1880 Census of Manufactures," Macroeconomics, EconWPA 0012003, EconWPA.
  8. Eichengreen, Barry & Hatton, Tim, 1988. "Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley qt7bw188gk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  9. Margarita Katsimi & Sarantis Kalyvitis & Thomas Moutos, 2009. ""Unwarranted" Wage Changes and the Return on Capital," CESifo Working Paper Series 2804, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Klein, Alexander & Otsuy, Keisuke, 2013. "Efficiency, Distortions and Factor Utilization during the Interwar Period," CAGE Online Working Paper Series, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) 147, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  11. Hart, Robert A. & Roberts, J. Elizabeth, 2010. "Real Wages, Working Time, and the Great Depression: What Does Micro Evidence Tell Us?," IZA Discussion Papers 4977, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Hart, Robert A., 2008. "Piece work pay and hourly pay over the cycle," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 1006-1022, October.
  13. Tony Syme, 2000. "Public Policy and Unemployment in Interwar France: An Empirical Approach," Economics Series Working Papers 55, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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