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Uniform Working Hours: A Culprit of Structural Unemployment

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  • Wen, Yi

    (Cornell U)

  • Zhu, Lijing

    (National U of Singapore)

  • Liu, Haoming

    (National U of Singapore)

Abstract

In this paper, we construct a simple model based on heterogeneity in workers' productivity and homogeneity in their working schedules. This simple model can generate unemployment, even if wages adjust instantaneously, firms are perfectly competitive and can perfectly observe workers' productivity and effort. Unemployment in our model falls upon low-skilled workers, because firms do not find it optimal to hire low-skilled workers when working time across heterogeneous workers must be synchronized, and low-skilled workers on the other hand do not find it attractive working for hours the same length as of high-skilled workers at competitive wages. Our model can also explain the stylized fact that both the number of employees and the number of hours comove with the business cycle.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 01-20.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:01-20

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  1. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Efficiency Wage Theories: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 1906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Costa, Dora L, 2000. "The Wage and the Length of the Work Day: From the 1890s to 1991," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 156-81, January.
  3. Cho, Jang-Ok & Cooley, Thomas F., 1994. "Employment and hours over the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 411-432, March.
  4. Audra Bowlus & Haoming Liu & Chris Robinson, 2002. "Business Cycle Models, Aggregation, and Real Wage Cyclicality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 308-335, Part.
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