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Wage and (un-)employment effects of an ageing workforce

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  • Jochen Michaelis

    ()

  • Martin Debus

Abstract

In almost all Western economies the median age of the workforce is increasing due to demographic factors. Given the empirical fact that workers of different ages are not perfect substitutes in production, this paper explores how change in the age pattern affects wages and (un)employment. We develop a general equilibrium model where wages for young and old workers are set by monopoly unions at the firm-level. Contrary to the common wisdom on this topic, we show that an increase in the relative number of older workers for a given labor force size has no effect on young and old unemployment. If, however, unions attach a higher weight to the wishes of the old, the unemployment rate of the old (young) will increase (decrease). In this case we observe a redistribution of wage income from the young to the old.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 1493-1511

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:24:y:2011:i:4:p:1493-1511

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Related research

Keywords: Workforce ageing; Unemployment; Wage bargaining; E2; J2; J5;

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  1. Patrick Aubert & Eve Caroli & Muriel Roger, 2006. "New technologies, organisation and age: firm-level evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(509), pages F73-F93, 02.
  2. Pissarides, Christopher A., 1989. "Unemployment consequences of an aging population: An application of insider-outsider theory," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 355-366, March.
  3. Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1991. "Ageing and the Labor Market: Age Structure, Cohort Size and Unemployment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 177-200, August.
  4. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, September.
  5. Andrea Ichino & Guido Schwerdt & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer & Josef Zweimüller, 2014. "Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire?," Sciences Po publications 27, Sciences Po.
  6. Layard, R. & Nickell, S., 1988. "Is Unemployment Lower If Unions Bargain Over Employment?," Papers 308, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  7. Axel Börsch-Supan, 2003. "Labor Market Effects of Population Aging," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 17(SpecialIs), pages 5-44, 08.
  8. Vegard Skirbekk, 2004. "Age and Individual Productivity: A Literature Survey," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 2(1), pages 133-154.
  9. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "International Patterns of Union Membership," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 1-28, 03.
  10. Jochen Michaelis & Michael Pflüger, 2000. "The impact of tax reforms on unemployment in a SMOPEC," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 72(2), pages 175-201, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Henseke, Golo & Tivig, Thusnelda, 2013. "Alterung in Berufen: Der Beitrag ökonomischer Einflüsse," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80001, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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