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The Spot Market Matters: Evidence On Implicit Contracts From Britain

  • Paul J. Devereux
  • Robert A. Hart

Based on the methodology of Beaudry and DiNardo (1991), this paper investigates the relative importance of the spot market and implicit contracts in the determination of British real wages. Empirical work is carried out separately for males and females with individual-level data taken from the New Earnings Survey Panel for the years 1976 to 2001. In contrast to previous studies that used North American data, the spot market is found to be more important than implicit contracts in determining real wages. Indeed, there is very little support for implicit contracts in these data. Further evidence is provided through the analysis of individual wage sequences. These suggest that the downwardly rigid wage sequences implied by implicit contracts with costless worker mobility are not prevalent in Britain.

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Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 54 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 661-683

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:54:y:2007:i:5:p:661-683
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  1. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Discussion Papers 488, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Hogan, Chad, 2001. "Enforcement of Implicit Employment Contracts through Unionization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 171-95, January.
  3. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1988. "Self-enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 541-54, October.
  4. Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, 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 665-88, August.
  6. Marianne Bertrand, 2004. "From the Invisible Handshake to the Invisible Hand? How Import Competition Changes the Employment Relationship," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 723-766, October.
  7. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  8. Malcomson, J., 1998. "Individual employment contracts," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9804, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  9. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-57, July.
  10. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  11. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  12. McDonald, J.T. & Worswick, C., 1997. "Wages, Implicit Contracts and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Canadian Micro Data," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 588, The University of Melbourne.
  13. Gary Solon & Warren Whatley & Ann Huff Stevens, 1997. "Wage changes and intrafirm job mobility over the business cycle: Two case studies," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 402-415, April.
  14. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
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