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Why Does Employment in All Major Sectors Move Together over the Business Cycle?

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  • Yaniv Yedid-Levi

    (The University of British Columbia)

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    Abstract

    In recessions, employment falls in all major sectors. Positive correlation of employment across sectors is a puzzle, because a standard two-sector business-cycle model driven by aggregate productivity shocks predicts negative correlation of total hours of work in the consumption-goods sector and the investment-goods sector. I start from the observation that most of the variability of total hours worked takes the form of variations in the number of workers. Hours per employed worker is only a secondary source of variation. The exten- sive margin is therefore critical in understanding the positive correlation of sectoral labor market variables, yet neglected by existing studies. This paper advances the literature on cross-sectoral correlation of employment by making unemployment an explicit feature of the model. I construct a two sector model with search and matching friction, capital ad- justment costs, and partial wage stickiness. The model explains the positive cross-sectoral correlation through movements of workers in both sectors into and out of unemployment.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 677.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:677

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    1. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Jordi Galí & Thijs van Rens, 2014. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," Working Papers 489, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Hornstein, Andreas & Praschnik, Jack, 1997. "Intermediate inputs and sectoral comovement in the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 573-595, December.
    4. P. Diamond, 1980. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Working papers 268, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. Leena Rudanko, 2009. "Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk in a Frictional Labor Market," 2009 Meeting Papers 468, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Manuel Toledo & Jose I. Silva, 2005. "Labor Turnover Costs and the Cyclical Behavior of Vacancies and Unemployment," 2005 Meeting Papers 775, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Max Floetotto & Nir Jaimovich & Seth Pruitt, 2009. "Markup variation and endogenous fluctuations in the price of investment goods," International Finance Discussion Papers 968, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Sergio Rebelo, 2005. "Real Business Cycle Models: Past, Present and Future," RCER Working Papers 522, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    9. Benhabib, Jess & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1991. "Homework in Macroeconomics: Household Production and Aggregate Fluctuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1166-87, December.
    10. Bjoern Bruegemann & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2010. "Rent Rigidity, Asymmetric Information, and Volatility Bounds in Labor," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(3), pages 575-596, July.
    11. 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.
    12. Vázquez Pérez, Jesús & Cassou, Steven P., 2009. "Employment comovements at the sectoral level over the business cycle," DFAEII Working Papers 2009-.06, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    13. Robert E. Hall, 2004. "Measuring Factor Adjustment Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 899-927, August.
    14. Sharon G. Harrison, 2003. "Returns to Scale and Externalities in the Consumption and Investment Sectors," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 963-976, October.
    15. DiCecio, Riccardo, 2009. "Sticky wages and sectoral labor comovement," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 538-553, March.
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