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Persistence Effects in Labor Force Participation

Author

Listed:
  • Robert S. Gay

    (Morgan Stanley)

  • William L. Wascher

    (Federal Reserve System)

Abstract

This paper examines empirically two facets of labor force participation dynamics that imply quite different interpretations of labor market fluctuations. The first, which underlies equilibrium business cycle models, is that workers time their participation to coincide with periods of high real wages. The second, which implies the existence of involuntary unemployment during cyclical downturns, is that workers' current labor force status is heavily influenced by their work experience in the recent past. The authors' results suggest that these persistence effects are a key feature of labor force behavior, particularly for teenagers, adult women, and older men. In contrast, very little evidence could be found to support the intertemporal substitution hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert S. Gay & William L. Wascher, 1989. "Persistence Effects in Labor Force Participation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 177-187, Jul-Sep.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:15:y:1989:i:3:p:177-187
    as

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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume15/V15N3P177_187.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-134, February.
    2. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1, March.
    4. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1979. "The Social Security Disability Program and Labor Force Participation," NBER Working Papers 0392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Heckman, James J & Willis, Robert J, 1977. "A Beta-logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 27-58, February.
    6. Haveman, Robert H & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1984. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 532-541, June.
    7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-754, Sept./Oct.
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    Cited by:

    1. Julie L. Hotchkiss & John C. Robertson, 2006. "Asymmetric labor force participation decisions over the business cycle: evidence from U.S. microdata," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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