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Measuring What Employers Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle: A New Approach

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  • Pedro S. Martins
  • Gary Solon
  • Jonathan P. Thomas

Abstract

Rigidity in real hiring wages plays a crucial role in some recent macroeconomic models. But are hiring wages really so noncyclical? We propose using employer/employee longitudinal data to track the cyclical variation in the wages paid to workers newly hired into specific entry jobs. Illustrating the methodology with 1982-2008 data from the Portuguese census of employers, we find real entry wages were about 1.8 percent higher when the unemployment rate was 1 percentage point lower. Like most recent evidence on other aspects of wage cyclicality, our results suggest that the cyclical elasticity of wages is similar to that of employment. (JEL E24, E32, J31, J64)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mac.4.4.36
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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 36-55

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:36-55

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.4.36
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References

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  1. Leena Rudanko, 2008. "Labor Market Dynamics under Long Term Wage Contracting," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2008-003, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Shin Donggyun, 2012. "Cyclicality of Real Wages in Korea," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, January.
  4. Mark Bils & Kenneth J. McLaughlin, 1992. "Inter-Industry Mobility and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor," NBER Working Papers 4130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  6. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
  7. Motty Perry & Gary Solon, 1984. "Wage Bargaining, Labor Turnover, and the Business Cycle: A Model with Asymmetric Information," NBER Working Papers 1359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Pedro S. Martins & Gary Solon & Jonathan P. Thomas, 2012. "Measuring What Employers Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle: A New Approach," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 36-55, October.
  9. Bjelland, Melissa & Fallick, Bruce & Haltiwanger, John & McEntarfer, Erika, 2011. "Employer-to-Employer Flows in the United States: Estimates Using Linked Employer-Employee Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(4), pages 493-505.
  10. Barro, Robert J., 1977. "Long-term contracting, sticky prices, and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 305-316, July.
  11. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
  12. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John Kennan, 2010. "Private Information, Wage Bargaining and Employment Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 633-664.
  14. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
  15. Robert Shimer, 2004. "The Consequences of Rigid Wages in Search Models," NBER Working Papers 10326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Arthur M. Okun, 1973. "Upward Mobility in a High-Pressure Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 207-262.
  17. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
  18. Gary Solon & Warren Whatley & Ann Huff Stevens, 1997. "Wage changes and intrafirm job mobility over the business cycle: Two case studies," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 402-415, April.
  19. Robert E. Hall, 1980. "Employment Fluctuations and Wage Rigidity," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 11(1, Tenth ), pages 91-142.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fella, Giulio, 2012. "Matching, Wage Rigidities and Efficient Severance Pay," MPRA Paper 38638, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Tatsiramos, K. & Ours, J.C. van, 2012. "Labor Market Effects of Unemployment Insurance Design," Discussion Paper 2012-082, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Pedro S. Martins & Gary Solon & Jonathan P. Thomas, 2012. "Measuring What Employers Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle: A New Approach," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 36-55, October.
  4. Tortorice, Daniel L., 2013. "Endogenous separation, wage rigidity and the dynamics of unemployment," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PB), pages 179-191.

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