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The Limited Influence of Unemployment on the Wage Bargain

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Listed:
  • Robert E. Hall
  • Paul R. Milgrom

Abstract

When a job-seeker and an employer meet, find a prospective joint surplus, and bargain over the wage, conditions in the outside labor market, including especially unemployment, may have limited influence. The job-seeker's only credible threat during bargaining is to hold out for a better deal. The employer's threat is to delay bargaining. Consequently, the outcome of the bargain depends on the relative costs of delays to the parties, rather than on the payoffs that result from exiting negotiations. Modeling bargaining in this way makes wages less responsive to unemployment. A stochastic model of the labor market with credible bargaining and reasonable parameter values yields larger employment fluctuations than does the standard Mortensen-Pissarides model. (JEL J22, J23, J31, J64)

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Hall & Paul R. Milgrom, 2008. "The Limited Influence of Unemployment on the Wage Bargain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1653-1674, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:4:p:1653-74
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.4.1653
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
    2. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    3. Rosen, Asa, 1997. "An equilibrium search-matching model of discrimination," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1589-1613, August.
    4. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Efficiency and Sticky Wages: Evidence from Flows in the Labor Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 397-407, August.
    5. Holden, Steinar, 1997. "Wage Bargaining, Holdout, and Inflation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 235-255, April.
    6. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-979, December.
    7. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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