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Rent Rigidity, Asymmetric Information, and Volatility Bounds in Labor

  • Bjoern Bruegemann

    (Yale University)

  • Giuseppe Moscarini

    (Yale University)

Two thirds of US unemployment volatility is due to fluctuations in workers' job finding rate. In search and matching models, aggregate productivity shocks generate such fluctuations: through firms recruiting effort, they affect the rate at which workers and firms come into contact. Quantitatively, this mechanism has been found to be negligible in a calibrated textbook model, but also more than sufficient if wages are completely rigid. We study a weaker concept of rigidity based on worker rents (wages in excess of the value of unemployment). We show that volatility is subject to an upper bound if worker rents are weakly procyclical, thus at best rigid. Quantitatively, with Rent Rigidity, the mechanism accounts for at most 20% of the variance of the job finding rate. In light of this result we reexamine the question whether asymmetric information on gains from trade amplifies fluctuations. We analyze a series of bargaining solutions, and conclude that asymmetric information at best makes rents rigid. Our analysis provides a unifying perspective on a very lively debate. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2009.10.009
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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 575-596

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:08-208
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  1. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2009. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 14905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Kennan, 2006. "Private Information, Wage Bargaining and Employment Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 11967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2011. "Productivity And The Labor Market: Comovement Over The Business Cycle," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(3), pages 603-619, 08.
  4. Murat Tasci, 2007. "On-the-job search and labor market reallocation," Working Paper 0725, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. Thomas Lubik & Michael Krause, 2004. "On-the-Job Search and the Cyclical Dynamics of the Labor Market," Economics Working Paper Archive 513, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  6. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2004. "Employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market: the complete picture of gross worker flows," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 28 Feb 2009.
  8. Robert Shimer, 2007. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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