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Skill Heterogeneity and the Business Cycle

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  • Eswar Prasad

Abstract

This paper extends the real business cycle framework to incorporate ex ante skill heterogeneity among workers. Consistent with the empirical evidence, skilled and unskilled workers in the model face the same degree of cyclical variation in real wages, although unskilled workers are subject to substantially higher procyclical variation in employment. Systematic cyclical changes in the average skill level of employed workers are shown to induce bias in standard aggregate measures of cyclical variation in the labour input, productivity, and the real wage. The introduction of skill heterogeneity improves the model's ability to match the empirical correlation between total hours and the real wage, but the correlation between total hours and labour productivity remains higher than it does in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Eswar Prasad, 1996. "Skill Heterogeneity and the Business Cycle," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 910-929, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:29:y:1996:i:4:p:910-29
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    Cited by:

    1. Linnea Polgreen & Pedro Silos, 2006. "Crude substitution: the cyclical dynamics of oil prices and the college premium," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    2. Maliar, Lilia & Maliar, Serguei, 2000. "Differential Responses of Labor Supply across Productivity Groups," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 85-108, January.
    3. Rui Castro & Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2008. "WHY HAVE AGGREGATE SKILLED HOURS BECOME SO CYCLICAL SINCE THE MID-1980s?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 135-185, February.
    4. Maliar, Lilia & Maliar, Serguei, 2004. "Indivisible-labor, lotteries and idiosyncratic productivity shocks," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 23-35, July.
    5. Luz Magdalena Salas Bahamón & Fabio Sánchez Torres, 2004. "How do the Colombian Families Respond to the Changes in the Economic Conditions?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4397, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. L. Magnani, 1998. "Market Volatility, Adjustment of Labor and Earnings," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 98-29, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    7. Cazzavillan, Guido & Olszewski, Krzysztof, 2011. "Skill-biased technological change, endogenous labor supply and growth: A model and calibration to Poland and the US," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 124-136, June.
    8. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii & Sergiy Stetsenko, 2016. "Taxation and Unemployment in Models with Heterogeneous Workers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 19, pages 161-189, January.
    9. Michael Sattinger & Sumati Srinivas, 2003. "The Employment-Productivity Relation with Employment Criteria," Discussion Papers 03-07, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    10. Finn E. Kydland & D'Ann M. Petersen, 1997. "Does being different matter?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q III, pages 2-11.
    11. Lahiri, Radhika & Magnani, Elisabetta, 2012. "Endogenous skill heterogeneity and inflation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 1745-1756.

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