Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Why Have Aggregate Skilled Hours Become So Cyclical Since the Mid-1980's?

Contents:

Author Info

  • CASTRO, Rui
  • COEN-PIRANI, Daniele

Abstract

This paper documents and discusses a dramatic change in the cyclical behavior of aggregate hours worked by individuals with a college degree (skilled workers) since the mid-1980’s. Using the CPS outgoing rotation data set for the period 1979:1-2003:4, we find that the volatility of aggregate skilled hours relative to the volatility of GDP has nearly tripled since 1984. In contrast, the cyclical properties of unskilled hours have remained essentially unchanged. We evaluate the extent to which a simple supply/demand model for skilled and unskilled labor with capital-skill complementarity in production can help explain this stylized fact. Within this framework, we identify three effects which would lead to an increase in the relative volatility of skilled hours: (i) a reduction in the degree of capital-skill complementarity, (ii) a reduction in the absolute volatility of GDP (and unskilled hours), and (iii) an increase in the level of capital equipment relative to skilled labor. We provide empirical evidence in support of each of these effects. Our conclusion is that these three mechanisms can jointly explain about sixty percent of the observed increase in the relative volatility of skilled labor. The reduction in the degree of capital-skill complementarity contributes the most to this result.

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://hdl.handle.net/1866/548
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 2005-19.

as in new window
Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2005-19

Contact details of provider:
Postal: CP 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7
Phone: (514) 343-6540
Fax: (514) 343-5831
Web page: http://www.sceco.umontreal.ca
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Macroeconomics; Business Cycles; Volatility; Skilled Hours; Skill Premium; Catal- Skill Comementarity;

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. Chang, Yongsung, 2000. "Wages, business cycles, and comparative advantage," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 143-171, August.
  2. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  3. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2001. "On Adjusting the HP-Filter for the Frequency of Observations," CESifo Working Paper Series 479, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000413, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Richard R. Nelson & Edmond S. Phelps, 1965. "Investment in Humans, Technological Diffusion and Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 189, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed The Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213, November.
  7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  10. Eswar Prasad, 1996. "Skill Heterogeneity and the Business Cycle," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 910-29, November.
  11. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  12. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1995. "The equity premium: it's still a puzzle," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter & Violante†, Giovanni L., 2002. "General Purpose Technology and Wage Inequality," Scholarly Articles 12490369, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Michael P. Keane & Eswar S. Prasad, 1991. "The relation between skill levels and the cyclical variability of employment, hours and wages," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 41, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. Kydland, Finn E., 1984. "Labor-force heterogeneity and the business cycle," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 173-208, January.
  17. Daniel Rodriguez & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Changes in the age and education profile of displaced workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 498-510, April.
  18. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1992. "General Purpose Technologies "Engines of Growth?"," NBER Working Papers 4148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Hoyt Bleakley & Ann E. Ferris & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1999. "New data on worker flows during business cycles," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 49-76.
  20. 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.
  21. Audra Bowlus & Haoming Liu & Chris Robinson, 2002. "Business Cycle Models, Aggregation, and Real Wage Cyclicality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 308-335, Part.
  22. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter & Violante, Giovanni L, 2002. " General Purpose Technology and Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 315-45, December.
  26. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557, August.
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. Konstantinos Angelopoulos & Stylianos Asimakopoulos & Jim Malley, 2013. "The Optimal Distribution of the Tax Burden over the Business Cycle," CESifo Working Paper Series 4468, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Jonathan A. Parker & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2010. "The Increase in Income Cyclicality of High-Income Households and Its Relation to the Rise in Top Income Shares," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(2 (Fall)), pages 1-70.
  3. Fatih Guvenen & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2013. "The nature of countercyclical income risk," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Pourpourides, Panayiotis M., 2011. "Implicit contracts and the cyclicality of the skill-premium," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 963-979, June.
  5. Christopher L. Foote & Richard W. Ryan, 2012. "Labor-market polarization over the business cycle," Public Policy Discussion Paper 12-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  6. Fatih Guvenen, 2014. "Comment on "Labor Market Polarization over the Business Cycle"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2014, Volume 29 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Andre Kurmann & Julien Champagne, 2010. "The Great Increase in Relative Volatility of Real Wages in the United States," 2010 Meeting Papers 674, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Nir Jaimovich & Seth Pruitt & Henry E. Siu, 2009. "The Demand for Youth: Implications for the Hours Volatility Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 14697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Jongsuk Han, 2013. "Cyclical Employment and Learning Ability," 2013 Meeting Papers 1022, Society for Economic Dynamics.

Lists

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Canadian Macro Study Group

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2005-19. 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: (Sharon BREWER).

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.