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Measuring What Employers Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle: A New Approach

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  • Pedro S. Martins
  • Gary Solon
  • Jonathan P. Thomas

Abstract

Rigidity in real hiring wages plays a crucial role in some recent macroeconomic models. But are hiring wages really so noncyclical? We propose using employer/employee longitudinal data to track the cyclical variation in the wages paid to workers newly hired into specific entry jobs. Illustrating the methodology with 1982-2008 data from the Portuguese census of employers, we find real entry wages were about 1.8 percent higher when the unemployment rate was 1 percentage point lower. Like most recent evidence on other aspects of wage cyclicality, our results suggest that the cyclical elasticity of wages is similar to that of employment. (JEL E24, E32, J31, J64)

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro S. Martins & Gary Solon & Jonathan P. Thomas, 2012. "Measuring What Employers Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle: A New Approach," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 36-55, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:36-55
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.4.36
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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