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Labour Supply Dynamics, Unemployment and Human Capital Investments

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  • Etienne Wasmer

Abstract

In the last decades, the OECD labor markets faced important labor supply changes with the arrival of women and the cohorts of the baby-boom. Using a survey where workers declare their true employment experience, this paper argues that the supply trend can be equivalent to a trend of more inexperienced workers. The paper proposes to investigate the potentially important consequences of the dynamics of labor supply trends on the skill composition of the labor force, between-groups wage inequality and the level of unemployment. The mechanism highlighted here is that, in periods of sustained growth of the active population, the labor force is younger and less experienced, which may increase the wage return to 'experience' and lead to higher unemployment among low-experience workers. They do not accumulate enough on-the-job human capital, and this reduces in the long-run the supply of skilled workers and the demand for unskilled workers. This intertemporal multiplication of supply shocks generates multiple equilibria. When human capital investment decisions are introduced, low-experience groups try to improve their outcome on the labor market; new cohorts invest in education, women invest in on-the-job skills.

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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number info:hdl:2441/8943.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Publication status: Published in Louvain Economic Review ; Recherches Economiques de Louvain, 2004, vol. 70, pp.461-482
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/8943

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Cited by:
  1. Wasmer, Etienne, 1998. "Labor Supply Dynamics, Unemployment and Human Capital Investments," Seminar Papers, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies 651, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Etienne WASMER, 2004. "Labor supply dynamics, unemployment and experience in the labor market," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 2004044, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Olivier CHARLOT, 2005. "Education, emploi et participation au marché du travail dans un modèle d’appariement," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 2005012, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  4. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8943 is not listed on IDEAS

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