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Labor Contracts, Equal Treatment, and Wage-Unemployment Dynamics

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  • Andy Snell
  • Jonathan P. Thomas

Abstract

This paper analyses a model in which firms cannot pay discriminate based on year of entry. It is assumed that workers can costlessly quit at any time, while firms are committed to contracts. We solve for the dynamics of wages and unemployment, and show that real wages display a degree of downward rigidity and do not necessarily clear the labor market. Using sectoral productivity data from the post-war US economy, we assess the ability of the model to match the actual unemployment series. We also show that equal treatment follows from the assumption of at-will employment contracting in our model. (JEL E24, E32, J31, J41)

Suggested Citation

  • Andy Snell & Jonathan P. Thomas, 2010. "Labor Contracts, Equal Treatment, and Wage-Unemployment Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 98-127, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:98-127
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.2.3.98
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Louis N. Christofides & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Wage Rigidity in Canadian Collective Bargaining Agreements," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 429-448, April.
    2. Paul J. Devereux & Robert A. Hart, 2007. "The Spot Market Matters: Evidence On Implicit Contracts From Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(5), pages 661-683, November.
    3. Jonas Agell & Per Lundborg, 2003. "Survey Evidence on Wage Rigidity and Unemployment: Sweden in the 1990s," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(1), pages 15-30, March.
    4. Shin, Donggyun & Shin, Kwanho, 2008. "Why Are The Wages Of Job Stayers Procyclical?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(01), pages 1-21, February.
    5. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-688, August.
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    15. John Moore, 2007. "Stable Sets And Steady Wages," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(5), pages 721-730, November.
    16. Darren Grant, 2003. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Surveys," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 393-408, April.
    17. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1987. "On Union Preferences and Labour Market Models: Insiders and Outsi ders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(386), pages 431-445, June.
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    19. Gottfries, Nils, 1992. "Insiders, Outsiders, and Nominal Wage Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 252-270, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Thomas & Andy Snell, 2007. " Real and Nominal Wage Rigidity in a Model of Equal-Treatment Contracting," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0708, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    2. Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2007. "Limited Commitment Models Of The Labour Market," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(5), pages 750-773, November.
    3. Marco Fongoni & Alex Dickson, 2015. "A theory of wage setting behavior," Working Papers 1505, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2016.
    4. Menzio, Guido & Moen, Espen R., 2010. "Worker replacement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 623-636, September.
    5. Andy Snell & Pedro Martins & Heiko Stüber & Jonathan P. Thomas, 2018. "Bias in Returns to Tenure When Firm Wages and Employment Comove: A Quantitative Assessment and Solution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74.
    6. Michael W. L. Elsby & Ryan Michaels & David Ratner, 2015. "The Beveridge Curve: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 571-630, September.
    7. Pedro S. Martins & Gary Solon & Jonathan Thomas, 2010. "Measuring What Employers Really Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 15767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Snell, Andy & Stüber, Heiko & Thomas, Jonathan P., 2018. "Downward Real Wage Rigidity and Equal Treatment Wage Contracts: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 11504, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Michael W. L. Elsby & Donggyun Shin & Gary Solon, 2016. "Wage Adjustment in the Great Recession and Other Downturns: Evidence from the United States and Great Britain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 249-291.

    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
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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