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Employment, Hours, and Earnings in the Depression: An Analysis of EightManufacturing Industries

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  • Bernanke, Ben S

Abstract

This paper employs monthly, industry-level data in a study of Depression-era labor markets. As in Robert Lucas (1970), the model usedhere assumes that employers can vary total labor input not only by changing the number of workers but also by changing the length of thework week. (This assumption seems particularly relevant to the 1930s, aperiod in which work weeks fluctuated sharply.) With aggregate demandtreated as exogenous and in conjunction with additional elements, themodel seems able to provide an empirical explanation of the behavior ofthe key labor market time series, including hours of work and real wages. Copyright 1986 by American Economic Association.

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  • Bernanke, Ben S, 1986. "Employment, Hours, and Earnings in the Depression: An Analysis of EightManufacturing Industries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 82-109, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:76:y:1986:i:1:p:82-109
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1970. "Capacity, Overtime, and Empirical Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 23-27, May.
    2. R. J. Ball & E. B. A. St Cyr, 1966. "Short Term Employment Functions in British Manufacturing Industry," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 179-207.
    3. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1980. "Unemployment as Disequilibrium in a Model of Aggregate Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 547-564, April.
    4. Joseph G. Altonji, 1982. "The Intertemporal Substitution Model of Labour Market Fluctuations: An Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(5), pages 783-824.
    5. M. S. Feldstein, 1967. "Specification of the Labour Input in the Aggregate Production Function," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(4), pages 375-386.
    6. Rees, Albert, 1970. "On Equilibrium in Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 306-310, March-Apr.
    7. Yellen, Janet L, 1984. "Efficiency Wage Models of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 200-205, May.
    8. Altonji, Joseph & Ashenfelter, Orley, 1980. "Wage Movements and the Labour Market Equilibrium Hypothesis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 217-245, August.
    9. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
    10. F. P. R. Brechling, 1965. "The Relationship between Output and Employment in British Manufacturing Industries," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(3), pages 187-216.
    11. Rosen, Harvey S & Quandt, Richard E, 1978. "Estimation of a Disequilibrium Aggregate Labor Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(3), pages 371-379, August.
    12. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    13. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-538, June.
    14. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Estimation of Dynamic Labor Demand Schedules under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1009-1044, December.
    15. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-754, Sept./Oct.
    16. Plessner, Yakir & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1983. "Unemployment and Wage Rigidity: The Demand Side," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 202-212, July.
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