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Wage Flexibility and Employment Fluctuations: Evidence from the Housing Sector

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  • Jörn‐Steffen Pischke

Abstract

Many economists suspect that downward nominal wage rigidities in ongoing labour contracts are an important source of employment fluctuations over the business cycle, but there is little direct empirical evidence on this conjecture. This paper compares three occupations in the housing sector with very different wage setting institutions: real estate agents, architects and construction workers. I study the wage and employment responses of these occupations to the housing cycle, a proxy for labour demand shocks to the industry. The employment of real estate agents, whose pay is far more flexible than the other occupations, indeed reacts less to the cycle than employment in the other occupations, although specific estimates are noisy. I show that the aggregate implications of the estimates depend also on the aggregate labour demand elasticity, which captures how easily laid off workers can find employment in alternative sectors.

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  • Jörn‐Steffen Pischke, 2018. "Wage Flexibility and Employment Fluctuations: Evidence from the Housing Sector," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 85(339), pages 407-427, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:85:y:2018:i:339:p:407-427
    DOI: 10.1111/ecca.12263
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    1. Effrosyni Adamopoulou & Emmanuele Bobbio & Marta De Philippis & Federico Giorgi, 2016. "Wage rigidities and business cycle fluctuations: a linked employer-employee analysis," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-32, December.
    2. Sergei Guriev & Biagio Speciale & Michele Tuccio, 2019. "How do Regulated and Unregulated Labor Markets Respond to Shocks? Evidence from Immigrants During the Great Recession," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 37-76.
    3. de Ridder, M. & Pfajfar, D., 2017. "Policy Shocks and Wage Rigidities: Empirical Evidence from Regional Effects of National Shocks," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1717, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    4. Konopczak, Karolina, 2021. "Modelling labour adjustments over the business cycle using asymmetric cointegration," The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, Elsevier, vol. 23(C).
    5. Konopczak, Karolina, 2019. "Modelling labour adjustments over the business cycle: evidence from non-linear ARDL model," MF Working Papers 35, Ministry of Finance in Poland.
    6. Wataru Hirata & Toshitaka Maruyama & Tomohide Mineyama, 2020. "Flattening of the Wage Phillips Curve and Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: The Japanese Experience in the 2010s," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 20-E-4, Bank of Japan.
    7. Maryam Akbari Nasiri, 2020. "How Long Do Housing Cycles Last? A Duration Analysis For Emerging Economies," Bulletin of Monetary Economics and Banking, Bank Indonesia, vol. 23(2), pages 179-200, June.
    8. Liao, Shushu, 2021. "The effect of credit shocks in the context of labor market frictions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    9. Wix, Carlo, 2017. "The long-run real effects of banking crises: Firm-level investment dynamics and the role of wage rigidity," SAFE Working Paper Series 189, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.

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