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Labor-Market Policies in an Equilibrium Search Model

In: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14

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  • Fernando Alvarez
  • Marcelo Veracierto

Abstract

We explore to what extent differences in employment and unemployment across economies can be generated by differences in labor market policies. We use a version of the Lucas-Prescott equilibrium search model with undirected search and endogenous labor-force participation. Minimum wages, degree of unionization, firing taxes, and unemployment benefits are introduced and their effects analyzed. When the model is calibrated to US observations it reproduces several of the elasticities of employment and unemployment with respect to changes in policies reported in the empirical literature. We find that: i) minimum wages have small effects; ii) firing taxes have similar effects to those found in frictionless general equilibrium models; iii) unions have large and negative effects on employment, unemployment, and welfare; and iv) unemployment benefits substantially increase unemployment and reduce welfare.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 2000. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern00-1.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11049.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11049

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    1. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
    2. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Jonas D.M. Fisher, 1998. "Aggregate employment fluctuations with microeconomic asymmetries," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
    4. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2005. "The consequences of labor market flexibility: Panel evidence based on survey data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1225-1259, July.
    5. Dickens, Richard & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from Britain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-22, January.
    6. Solon, Gary R, 1985. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 295-306, March.
    7. McCall, John J, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-26, February.
    8. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-38, October.
    9. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-79, July.
    10. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-93.
    12. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    13. Hansen, G.D. & Imrohoroglu, A., 1990. "The Role Of Unemployment Insurance In An Economy With Liquidity Constraints And Moral Hazard," Papers 21, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
    14. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
    15. Johnson, Harry G & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1970. "The Effects of Unionization on the Distribution of Income: A General Equilibrium Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 539-61, November.
    16. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
    17. Katz, Lawrence F & Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance, Recall Expectations, and Unemployment Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 973-1002, November.
    18. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1993. "Cross Sectional Efficiency and Labor Hoarding in an Matching Model of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 4472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Fernando Alvarez & Marcel Veracierto, 1998. "Search, self-insurance and job-security provisions," Working Paper Series WP-98-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    20. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Benefits on Layoffs Using Firm and Individual Data," NBER Working Papers 4960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
    22. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
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