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Why Does Trend Growth Affect Equilibrium Employment? A New Explanation of an Old Puzzle

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  • Michael W. L. Elsby
  • Matthew D. Shapiro

Abstract

That the employment rate appears to respond to changes in trend growth is an enduring macroeconomic puzzle. This paper shows that, in the presence of a return to experience, a slowdown in productivity growth raises reservation wages, thereby lowering aggregate employment. The paper develops new evidence that shows this mechanism is important for explaining the growth-employment puzzle. The combined effects of changes in aggregate wage growth and returns to experience account for all the increase from 1968 to 2006 in nonemployment among low-skilled men and for approximately half the increase in nonemployment among all men. (JEL E24, J24, J31)

Suggested Citation

  • Michael W. L. Elsby & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2012. "Why Does Trend Growth Affect Equilibrium Employment? A New Explanation of an Old Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1378-1413, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:4:p:1378-1413
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michelacci, Claudio & Pijoan-Mas, Josep, 2016. "Labor supply with job assignment under balanced growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 110-140.
    2. Virgiliu Midrigan & Elena Pastorino & Patrick Kehoe, 2014. "Debt Constraints and Unemployment," 2014 Meeting Papers 1118, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. repec:red:issued:17-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:dgr:rugsom:12009-eef is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Cynthia L. Doniger & J. David Lopez-Salido, 2017. "Hysteresis via Endogenous Rigidity in Wages and Participation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-044, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Ricardo Manuel Santos, 2014. "Dynamic Effects of Labor Supply: a mechanism explaining cross-sectional differences in hours," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 630-653, October.
    7. Barnichon, Regis & Figura, Andrew, 2013. "Declining Labor Force Attachment and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-88, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Regis Barnichon & Andrew Figura, 2016. "Declining Desire to Work and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 449-494.
    9. Hyeok Jeong & Yong Kim & Iourii Manovskii, 2015. "The Price of Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 784-815, February.
    10. Dungey, Mardi & Jacobs, Jan & Tian, Jing & Norden, Simon van, 2012. "On trend-cycle decomposition and data revision," Research Report 12009-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    11. Christian vom Lehn & Eric Fisher & Aspen Gorry, 2018. "Male Labor Supply and Generational Fiscal Policy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 28, pages 121-149, April.
    12. Krolikowski, Pawel, 2016. "Choosing a Control Group for Displaced Workers," Working Paper 1605, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, revised 17 Aug 2017.
    13. Mark Aguiar & Mark Bils & Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2017. "Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 23552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Kehoe, Patrick J. & Midrigan, Virgiliu & Pastorino, Elena, 2017. "On the Importance of Easing Consumer Credit Frictions," Economic Policy Paper 17-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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