Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The causes of business cycles and the cyclicality of real wages

Contents:

Author Info

  • Charles A. Fleischman

Abstract

A model's ability to explain procyclical movements in real wages has become an important benchmark by which macroeconomists judge business cycle theories. Because Keynesian models with sticky nominal wages predict countercyclical real wages, they have been criticized and dismissed in favor of Real Business Cycle models or New Keynesian models based on price stickiness or countercyclical markups. The bulk of the evidence for procyclical real wages, however, comes from studies using panel data that estimate the unconditional, contemporaneous correlation between real wages and the unemployment rate. These studies constrain real wage cyclicality to be the same irrespective of the source of the business cycle fluctuations. This paper relaxes this constraint and estimates a structural VAR identified by long-run restrictions on the responses of hours and output to labor supply, technology, oil price, and aggregate demand shocks. It finds that real wages are procyclical in response to technology shocks and oil price shocks, but are countercyclical in response to labor supply shocks and aggregate demand shocks. The procyclicality of real wages during the periods covered by the panel data sets may be explained by the importance of the productivity slowdown and the 1970s oil price shocks. The results highlight the limitations of using the unconditional, contemporaneous correlation between real wages and business cycle indicators to sort out competing theories of the business cycle, and cast strong doubt on the appropriateness of the rejection of sticky wage models.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1999/199953/199953abs.html
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1999/199953/199953pap.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1999-53.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-53

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551
Web page: http://www.federalreserve.gov/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Web: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/fedsorder.html

Related research

Keywords: Business cycles ; Wages;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Sumner, Scott & Silver, Stephen, 1989. "Real Wages, Employment, and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 706-20, June.
  2. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1991. "Stochastic Trends and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 819-40, September.
  3. Katharine G. Abraham & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1215-1264, September.
  4. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Current Real-Business-Cycle Theories and Aggregate Labor-Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 430-50, June.
  5. Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1993. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 644-52, June.
  6. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbance," Working papers 497, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5h07k8vf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1991. "Markups and the Business Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 63-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Wouter J. Den Haan, 1996. "The Comovements Between Real Activity and Prices at Different Business Cycle Frequencies," NBER Working Papers 5553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1994. "Monetary policy matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 75-88, August.
  11. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1, October.
  12. Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1989. "A Traditional Interpretation of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1146-64, December.
  13. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  14. Andrew C. Harvey, 1990. "The Econometric Analysis of Time Series, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 026208189x, December.
  15. Rotemberg, Julio J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1990. "Inflexible Prices and Procyclical Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 851-74, November.
  16. Thomas J. Sargent, 1978. "Estimation of dynamic labor demand schedules under rational expectations," Staff Report 27, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  18. Cogley, T., 1989. "Empirical Evidence On Nominal Wage And Price Flexibility," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 89-15, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  19. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
  20. Gali, Jordi, 1992. "How Well Does the IS-LM Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 709-38, May.
  21. Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, February.
  22. Robert B. Barsky, 1986. "The Fisher Hypothesis and the Forecastability and Persistence of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 1927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  24. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Staggered Wage Setting in a Macro Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 108-13, May.
  25. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-38, May.
  26. Geary, Patrick T & Kennan, John, 1982. "The Employment-Real Wage Relationship: An International Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 854-71, August.
  27. Edward N. Gamber & Frederick L. Joutz, 1997. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 277-291, Summer.
  28. Mork, Knut Anton, 1989. "Oil and Macroeconomy When Prices Go Up and Down: An Extension of Hamilton's Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 740-44, June.
  29. Neftci, Salih N, 1978. "A Time-Series Analysis of the Real Wages-Employment Relationship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 281-91, April.
  30. McCallum, Bennett T, 1986. "On "Real' and "Sticky-Price' Theories of the Business Cycle," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(4), pages 397-414, November.
  31. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1994. "Federal Reserve Policy: Cause and Effect," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 307-334 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Leiderman, Leonardo, 1983. "The response of real wages to unanticipated money growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 73-88.
  33. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  34. Mark A. Hooker, 1999. "Oil and the macroeconomy revisited," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  35. Gamber, Edward N & Joutz, Frederick L, 1993. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1387-93, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-53. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs).

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.