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Skill Specific Unemployment with Imperfect Substitution of Skills

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  • Runli Xie
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    Abstract

    A large body of literature explains the inferior position of unskilled workers by imposing a structural shift in the labor force skill composition. This paper takes a different approach by emphasizing the connection between cyclical variations in skilled and unskilled labor markets. Using a stylized business cycle model with search frictions in the respective sub-markets, I find that imperfect substitution between skilled and unskilled labor creates a channel for the variations in the sub-markets. Together with a general labor augment- ing technology shock, it can generate downward sloping Beveridge curves. Calibrating the model to US data yields higher volatilities in the unskilled labor markets and reproduces stylized business cycle facts.

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    File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2008-024.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2008-024.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-024

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    Related research

    Keywords: business cycle; search frictions; skill specific unemployment; skill substitutability;

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    1. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," NBER Working Papers 11627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
    4. Acemoglu, D., 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," Working papers 97-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. Gautier, Pieter A, 2002. "Unemployment and Search Externalities in a Model with Heterogeneous Jobs and Workers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(273), pages 21-40, February.
    6. Peter Gottschalk & Michael Hansen, 2003. "Is the Proportion of College Workers in Noncollege Jobs Increasing?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 409-448, April.
    7. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain The Rising Return To College For Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746, May.
    8. Pierrard, Olivier & Sneessens, Henri R., 2003. "Low-Skilled Unemployment, Biased Technological Shocks and Job Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 784, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
    10. Greiner, Alfred & Rubart, Jens & Semmler, Willi, 2004. "Economic growth, skill-biased technical change and wage inequality: A model and estimations for the US and Europe," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 597-621, December.
    11. Andolfatto, David, 1996. "Business Cycles and Labor-Market Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 112-32, March.
    12. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
    13. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Job Loss, Job Finding, and Unemployment in the U.S. Economy Over the Past Fifty Years," NBER Working Papers 11678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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