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The demand for youth: implications for the hours volatility puzzle

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  • Nir Jaimovich
  • Seth Pruitt
  • Henry E. Siu

Abstract

The employment and hours worked of young individuals fluctuate much more over the business cycle than those of prime-aged individuals. Understanding the mechanism underlying this observation is key to explaining the volatility of aggregate hours over the cycle. We argue that the joint behavior of age-specific hours and wages in the U.S. data point to differences in the cyclical characteristics of labor demand. To articulate this view, we consider a production technology displaying capital-experience complementarity. We estimate the key parameters governing the degree of complementarity and show that the model can account for the behavior of age-specific hours and wages while generating a series of aggregate hours that is nearly as volatile as output.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 964.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:964

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Keywords: Business cycles ; Hours of labor;

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  1. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2003. "Wages and Employment in the United States and Germany: What Explains the Differences?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 573-602, June.
  2. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
  3. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Demographic Differences in Cyclical Employment Variation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(1), pages 61-79.
  4. Cragg, John G. & Donald, Stephen G., 1993. "Testing Identifiability and Specification in Instrumental Variable Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 222-240, April.
  5. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1993. "Cyclical movements of the labor input and its implicit real wage," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q II, pages 12-23.
  6. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007 Elsevier.
  7. Ramey, Valerie A. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1998. "Costly capital reallocation and the effects of government spending," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 145-194, June.
  8. H. W. Hoynes, . "Local Labor Markets and Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1104-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  9. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1995. "Measuring Business Cycles Approximate Band-Pass Filters for Economic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 5022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Rui Castro & Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2008. "WHY HAVE AGGREGATE SKILLED HOURS BECOME SO CYCLICAL SINCE THE MID-1980s?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 135-185, 02.
  11. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  12. Paul Gomme & Richard Rogerson & Peter Rupert & Randall Wright, 2004. "The business cycle and the life cycle," Working Paper 0404, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  13. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 24, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Hansen, Gary D. & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 2009. "Business cycle fluctuations and the life cycle: How important is on-the-job skill accumulation?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2293-2309, November.
  16. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  17. Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Life-Cycle Economies and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 465-89, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Steven Lugauer, 2012. "Estimating the Effect of the Age Distribution on Cyclical Output Volatility Across the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 896-902, November.
  2. Sebastian Dyrda & Greg Kaplan & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2012. "Business Cycles and Household Formation: The Micro vs the Macro Labor Elasticity," NBER Working Papers 17880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ariel Burstein & Javier Cravino & Jonathan Vogel, 2011. "Importing Skill-Biased Technology," NBER Working Papers 17460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lugauer, Steven & Redmond, Michael, 2012. "The age distribution and business cycle volatility: International evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 694-696.
  5. Mennuni, Alessandro, 2013. "Labor Force Composition and Aggregate Fluctuations," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1302, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  6. Alexandre Janiak & Paulo Santos Monteiro, 2011. "Towards a quantitative theory of automatic stabilizers: the role of demographics," Documentos de Trabajo 284, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  7. Lugauer, Steven, 2012. "Demographic Change And The Great Moderation In An Overlapping Generations Model With Matching Frictions," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(05), pages 706-731, November.
  8. Dennett, Julia & Modestino, Alicia Sasser, 2013. "Uncertain futures?: youth attachment to the labor market in the United States and New England," New England Public Policy Center Research Report 13-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Yaniv Yedid-Levi & Nir Jaimovic & Henry Siu & Martin Gervais, 2011. "What Should I Be When I Grow Up? Occupations and Employment over the Life Cycle and Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 893, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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