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

Listed author(s):
  • Pedro S. Martins
  • Gary Solon
  • Jonathan P. Thomas

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)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mac.4.4.36
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/mac/data/2010-0083_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 36-55

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:36-55
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.4.36
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-macro
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  1. Leena Rudanko, 2008. "Labor Market Dynamics under Long Term Wage Contracting," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2008-003, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  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. Marianna Kudlyak, 2010. "The cyclical price of labor when wages are smoothed," Working Paper 10-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  4. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
  5. Robert Shimer, 2004. "The Consequences of Rigid Wages in Search Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 469-479, 04/05.
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  7. Bonggeun Kim & Gary Solon, 2005. "Implications of Mean-Reverting Measurement Error for Longitudinal Studies of Wages and Employment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 193-196, February.
  8. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
  9. John Kennan, 2005. "Private Information, Wage Bargaining and Employment Fluctuations," 2005 Meeting Papers 555, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1-9.
  11. Arthur M. Okun, 1973. "Upward Mobility in a High-Pressure Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 207-262.
  12. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-689, August.
  13. Gary Solon & Warren Whatley & Ann Huff Stevens, 1997. "Wage Changes and Intrafirm Job Mobility over the Business Cycle: Two Case Studies," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 402-415, April.
  14. Robert E. Hall, 1980. "Employment Fluctuations and Wage Rigidity," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 11(1, Tenth ), pages 91-142.
  15. Anabela Carneiro & Paulo GuimarĂ£es & Pedro Portugal, 2012. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle: Accounting for Worker, Firm, and Job Title Heterogeneity," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 133-152, April.
  16. Melissa Bjelland & Bruce Fallick & John Haltiwanger & Erika McEntarfer, 2008. "Employer-to-Employer Flows in the United States: Estimates Using Linked Employer-Employee Data," NBER Working Papers 13867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gabriela Lopes de Castro & Paulo Soares Esteves, 2004. "Quarterly Series for the Portuguese Economy: 1977-2003," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department, pages -.
  18. Marianna Kudlyak, 2011. "The cyclicality of the user cost of labor with search and matching," Working Paper 09-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  19. Perry, Motty & Solon, Gary, 1985. "Wage Bargaining, Labor Turnover, and the Business Cycle: A Model with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 421-433, October.
  20. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
  21. Martins, Pedro S., 2007. "Heterogeneity in Real Wage Cyclicality," IZA Discussion Papers 2929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. 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.
  23. Peng, Fei & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2007. "Real Wage Cyclicality in Germany and the UK: New Results Using Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 2688, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Shin Donggyun, 2012. "Cyclicality of Real Wages in Korea," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, January.
  25. Barro, Robert J., 1977. "Long-term contracting, sticky prices, and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 305-316, July.
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