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Cyclical labor costs within jobs

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  • Schaefer, Daniel
  • Singleton, Carl

Abstract

Using UK employer-employee panel data, we present novel facts on how wages and working hours respond to the business cycle within jobs. Firms reacted to the Great Recession with substantial real wage cuts and by recruiting more part-time workers. A one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate led to an average decline in real hourly wages of 2.6% for new hires as well as for job stayers. Hiring hours worked were substantially procyclical, while job-stayer hours were acyclical. These results show that real wages are not rigid and that the labor costs of new hires are especially flexible.

Suggested Citation

  • Schaefer, Daniel & Singleton, Carl, 2019. "Cyclical labor costs within jobs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:120:y:2019:i:c:s0014292119301692
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2019.103317
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Schaefer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Nominal Wage Adjustments and the Composition of Pay: New Evidence from Payroll Data," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-01, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    2. Jonathon Hazell & Bledi Taska, 2020. "Downward Rigidity in the Wage for New Hires," Discussion Papers 2028, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    3. Merkl, Christian & Stüber, Heiko, 2024. "Wage and employment cyclicalities at the establishment level," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 161(C).
    4. Carreño Bustos, José Gabo, 2023. "Flexible Contracts as Business Cycle Stabilizers," Discussion Paper 2023-007, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. David N. F. Bell & Robert A. Hart, 2023. "The decline of paid overtime working in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 61(2), pages 235-258, June.
    6. Choi, Sekyu & Figueroa, Nincen & Villena-Roldán, Benjamin, 2020. "Wage Cyclicality Revisited: The Role of Hiring Standards," MPRA Paper 120307, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 21 Apr 2022.
    7. Carreño, José Gabo & Uras, Burak, 2024. "Macro welfare effects of flexible labor contracts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 161(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage rigidity; Great recession; Hours worked; Job-level analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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