IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Inequality, Volatility and Labour Market Efficiency


  • Uren Lawrence

    () (University of Melbourne)


In the 1980s there was an increase in cross-sectional wage inequality while simultaneously there was a decrease in the time series volatility of aggregate output. This paper argues that increased efficiency of the labor market may help explain both features of the data. Increases in labor market efficiency or equivalently reduced search frictions increase wage inequality by increasing the degree of positive assortive matching. Simultaneously, aggregate volatility of output decreases as labor market efficiency increases since reduced frictions insulate the economy from shocks that affect employment. In a calibrated model the improvement in labor market efficiency explains around 20 percent of the decline in output volatility and roughly 40 percent of the increase in wage inequality after 1985.

Suggested Citation

  • Uren Lawrence, 2008. "Inequality, Volatility and Labour Market Efficiency," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-30, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mendes, Rute & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten, 2010. "An empirical assessment of assortative matching in the labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 919-929, December.
    2. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    3. Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark & Melissa McInerney, 2008. "Changes in Workplace Segregation in the United States between 1990 and 2000: Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data," NBER Chapters,in: The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, pages 163-195 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    5. Shouyong Shi, 2002. "A Directed Search Model of Inequality with Heterogeneous Skills and Skill-Biased Technology," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 467-491.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jordi Galí & Thijs van Rens, 2008. "The vanishing procyclicality of labor productivity," Economics Working Papers 1230, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2010.
    2. Huang, Ho-Chuan (River) & Fang, WenShwo & Miller, Stephen M. & Yeh, Chih-Chuan, 2015. "The effect of growth volatility on income inequality," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 212-222.
    3. Ozan EksiBy, 2017. "Lower volatility, higher inequality: are they related?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 847-869.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.