Market vs. Institutions: The Trade-off Between Unemployment and Wage Inequality Revisited
AbstractThe trade-off hypothesis suggests that high wage inequality in the US and the UK and high unemployment in countries of continental Europe are consequences of the same negative change in the demand for the low skilled under different degrees of wage rigidity. This paper uses a labor supply and labor demand model with heterogenous types of labor in order to test the trade-off hypothesis and to analyze the effect of market forces and wage rigidity on changes in the between-group variation in earnings, employment, unemployment, and inactivity in France, the UK, and the US between 1990 and 2002. The results provide clear evidence in favor of the trade-off hypothesis when France is compared to the US as well as to the UK. We also find that labor supply and labor demand are more wage elastic in the UK than in the other two countries. Counterfactual simulations based on the estimated model reveal that exogenous changes in the relative demand for skills dominated in France, while supply shifts had more impact in the US over the studied period. In the UK, the opposite effects of the supply and the demand shifts were of similar magnitude, even though the supply effects dominated for the least and the most educated. In addition, an extended version of the trade-off hypothesis is proposed which considers not only wage inequality and unemployment but also labor supply. If labor force participation is sensitive to wages, then rising wage inequality is likely to be accompanied by an increase in the inactivity rate. We find that wage elasticity of labor force participation is positive and significant in all three countries, and suggest that depending on the institutions that affect wage rigidity, there is trade-off between unemployment on one hand, and wage inequality and inactivity on the other.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2006/31.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Badia Fiesolana, Via dei Roccettini, 9, 50016 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI) Italy
Web page: http://www.eui.eu/ECO/
More information through EDIRC
Unemployment and Wage Inequality Trade-off; Wage Rigidity; Inactivity;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "The Recent Performance of the UK Labour Market," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 202-220, June.
- Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999.
"The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
- Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 2006.
"Unemployment and Nonemployment: Heterogeneities in Labor Market States,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 314-323, May.
- Stephen R.G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 2002. "Unemployment and Non-Employment: Heterogeneities in Labour Market States," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-05, McMaster University.
- Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, .
"The Measurement Of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach,"
Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers
09, McMaster University.
- Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 1999. "The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 147-162, January.
- Jones, S.R.G. & Riddell, W.C., 1993. "The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," UBC Departmental Archives 93-48, UBC Department of Economics.
- Fitoussi, Jean-Paul, 1994.
"Wage Distribution and Unemployment: The French Experience,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 59-64, May.
- Fitoussi, Jean-Paul, 1994. "Wage Distribution and Unemployment: The French Experience," Open Access publications from Sciences Po info:hdl:2441/5901, Sciences Po.
- Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1995. "The Collapse in Demand for the Unskilled and Unemployment across the OECD," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 40-62, Spring.
- David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise In The Disability Rolls And The Decline In Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-205, February.
- Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
- Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2001. "Job bust, baby bust?: Evidence from Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 505-521.
- Benati, Luca, 2001. "Some empirical evidence on the 'discouraged worker' effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 387-395, March.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marcia Gastaldo).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.