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Convergence in Macroeconomics: The Labor Wedge

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  • Robert Shimer

Abstract

I review research on the behavior of the labor wedge, the ratio between the marginal rate of substitution of consumption for leisure and the marginal product of labor. According to competitive, market-clearing macroeconomic models, the ratio is easy to measure and should be equal to the sum of consumption and labor taxes. The observation that the wedge is higher in continental Europe than in the United States has proved useful for understanding the extent to which taxes can explain differences in labor market outcomes. The observation that the ratio rises during recessions suggests some failure of competitive, market-clearing macroeconomic models at business cycle frequencies. The latter observation has guided recent research, including work on sticky wage models and job search models. (JEL E24, E32, J64)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 280-97

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:280-97

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.1.1.280
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  1. Franco Modigliani, 1977. "The monetarist controversy; or, should we forsake stabilization policies?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Spr suppl, pages 27-46.
  2. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Real Business Cycles: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 2882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
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  10. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  11. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, 05.
  12. Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2007. "Micro and Macro Elasticities in a Life Cycle Model With Taxes," NBER Working Papers 13017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  14. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  16. Robert E. Hall, 1998. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," NBER Working Papers 5933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Galí, Jordi & Rabanal, Pau, 2004. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations: How Well Does the RBC Model Fit Post-War US Data?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4522, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
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  1. Labor Supply Heterogeneity
    by Agent Continuum in Agent Continuum on 2010-08-02 05:00:24
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