Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Great Increase in Relative Volatility of Real Wages in the United States

Contents:

Author Info

  • Julien Champagne
  • André Kurmann

Abstract

This paper documents that over the past 25 years, aggregate hourly real wages in the United States have become substantially more volatile relative to output. We use micro-data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) to show that this increase in relative volatility is predominantly due to increases in the relative volatility of hourly wages across different groups of workers. Compositional changes, by contrast, account for at most 12% of the increase in relative wage volatility. Using a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model, we show that the observed increase in relative wage volatility is unlikely to come from changes outside of the labor market (e.g. smaller exogenous shocks or more aggressive monetary policy). By contrast, increased flexibility in wage setting is capable of accounting for a large fraction of the observed increase in relative wage volatility. At the same time, increased wage flexibility generates a substantial decrease in the magnitude of business cycle fluctuations, which suggests a promising new explanation for the Great Moderation.

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.cirpee.org/fileadmin/documents/Cahiers_2010/CIRPEE10-10.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1010.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1010

Contact details of provider:
Postal: CP 8888, succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8
Phone: (514) 987-8161
Web page: http://www.cirpee.org/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Wage volatility; business cycles; great moderation; current population survey; dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

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. Kurmann, Andre, 2007. "VAR-based estimation of Euler equations with an application to New Keynesian pricing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 767-796, March.
  2. Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2008. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours among U.S. Men, 1979-2006," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 311-343, 04.
  3. Regis Barnichon, 2008. "Productivity, aggregate demand and unemployment fluctuations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-47, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Henry S. Farber & Bruce Western, 2001. "Accounting for the Decline of Unions in the Private Sector, 1973-1998 ," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(3), pages 459-485, July.
  5. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
  6. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles : a Bayesian DSGE Approach," Working Paper Research 109, National Bank of Belgium.
  7. Kimball, Miles S, 1995. "The Quantitative Analytics of the Basic Neomonetarist Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1241-77, November.
  8. Jordi Galí & Thijs van Rens, 2008. "The vanishing procyclicality of labor productivity," Economics Working Papers 1230, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2010.
  9. Paul Gomme & Richard Rogerson & Peter Rupert & Randall Wright, 2005. "The Business Cycle and the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 415-592 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Steven J. Davis & James A. Kahn, 2008. "Interpreting the Great Moderation: Changes in the Volatility of Economic Activity at the Macro and Micro Levels," NBER Working Papers 14048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2004. "Were there regime switches in U.S. monetary policy?," Working Paper 2004-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  12. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  13. Karen E. Dynan & Douglas W. Elmendorf & Daniel E. Sichel, 2007. "The evolution of household income volatility," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2011. "Productivity And The Labor Market: Comovement Over The Business Cycle," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(3), pages 603-619, 08.
  15. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  16. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2005. "Real Wage Rigidities and the New Keynesian Model," NBER Working Papers 11806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Luca Gambetti & Jordi Galí, 2007. "On the sources of the Great Moderation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  18. Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu, 2007. "The young, the old, and the restless: demographics and business cycle volatility," Staff Report 387, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. 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.
  20. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  21. 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.
  22. Feenberg, D.R. & Poterba, J.M., 1992. "Income Inequality and the Incomes of Very High Income Taxpayers: Evidence from Tax Returns," Working papers 92-16, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  23. Katharine G. Abraham & James R. Spletzer & Jay C. Stewart, 1998. "Divergent Trends in Alternative Wage Series," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 293-325 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  25. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Giorgio E. Primiceri & Ernst Schaumburg & Andrea Tambalotti, 2006. "Intertemporal Disturbances," NBER Working Papers 12243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Econometric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2000. "Resuscitating Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 467, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  29. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  30. Vicente Cuñat & Maria Guadalupe, 2005. "How does product market competition shape incentive contracts?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19894, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  31. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L, 2001. "Deunionization, Technical Change and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  32. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  33. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  34. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  35. Margaret McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  36. Marcello Estevao & Saul Lach, 1999. "The evolution of the demand for temporary help supply employment in the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-58, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  37. Hamid Mehran & Joseph Tracy, 2001. "The effect of employee stock options on the evolution of compensation in the 1990s," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 17-34.
  38. Alexopoulos, Michelle, 2004. "Unemployment and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 277-298, March.
  39. Dale W. Jorgenson & Mun S. Ho & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2008. "A Retrospective Look at the U.S. Productivity Growth Resurgence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  40. James A. Kahn & Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2002. "On the causes of the increased stability of the U.S. economy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 183-202.
  41. Jensen & Shore, 2008. "Changes in the Distribution of Income Volatility," 2008 Meeting Papers 82, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  42. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  43. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  44. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. Macpherson, 2003. "Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey: Note," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(2), pages 349-354, January.
  45. Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D.M., 2007. "Estimating the frequency of price re-optimization in Calvo-style models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 2032-2047, October.
  46. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  47. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  48. Collard, Fabrice & de la Croix, David, 1996. "Gift exchange and the business cycle: the fair wage strikes back," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1997008, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Apr 1997.
  49. 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.
  50. Shane T. Jensen & Stephen H. Shore, 2008. "Changes in the Distribution of Income Volatility," Papers 0808.1090, arXiv.org.
  51. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Donaldson, John B., 1990. "Efficiency wages and the business cycle puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1275-1301, November.
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:
  1. Fuentes-Albero, Cristina, 2012. "Financial Frictions, Financial Shocks, and Aggregate Volatility," Dynare Working Papers 18, CEPREMAP.

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:lvl:lacicr:1010. 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: (Johanne Perron).

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.