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Cyclical Quality Adjustment in the Labor Market

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  • Paul J. Devereux

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California)

Abstract

Various reasons have been put forward to explain the stylized fact that the wages of job starters are more procyclical than the wages of workers who don’t change jobs. I explore the theoretical and empirical basis for one such reason: firms adjust the quality of workers assigned to jobs over the business cycle. I show that there is evidence that quality adjustment is an important feature of cyclical adjustment in labor markets. New hires of any particular ability level get lower quality jobs in recessions than in booms. The results indicate that about half of the wage procyclicality of new hires can be ascribed to variation in the matches between firms and workers over the business cycle. These systematic changes in assignment imply that government policy aimed at high-skill sectors can have positive effects on low-skill individuals by increasing the probability that they upgrade occupation and industry.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 70 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 600-615

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:70:3:y:2004:p:600-615

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. James S. Costain & Michael Reiter, 2003. "Business cycles, unemployment insurance and the calibration of matching models," Economics Working Papers 872, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2006.
  2. Anger, Silke, 2011. "The Cyclicality of Effective Wages within Employer–Employee Matches in a Rigid Labor Market," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 786-797.
  3. Ammermüller, Andreas & Kuckulenz, Anja & Zwick, Thomas, 2006. "Aggregate Unemployment Decreases Individual Returns to Education," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-34, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 2008. "Lohnspreizung und Effizienz," Discussion Papers in Economics 2117, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2011. "Immigrants’ employment outcomes over the business cycle," Staff Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep.
  6. Ludsteck, Johannes & Haupt, Harald, 2007. "An Empirical Test of the Reder Hypothesis," Discussion Papers in Economics 1397, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Stüber, Heiko, 2012. "Are real entry wages rigid over the business cycle? : Empirical evidence for Germany from 1977 to 2009," IAB Discussion Paper 201206, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  8. Ludsteck, Johannes, 2008. "Wage cyclicality and the wage curve under the microscope," IAB Discussion Paper 200811, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  9. Martins, Pedro S. & Solon, Gary & Thomas, Jonathan P., 2010. "Measuring What Employers Really Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 4757, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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