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Rent Rigidity, Asymmetric Information, and Volatility Bounds in Labor

Author

Listed:
  • Bjoern Bruegemann

    (Yale University)

  • Giuseppe Moscarini

    (Yale University)

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Bjoern Bruegemann & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2010. "Rent Rigidity, Asymmetric Information, and Volatility Bounds in Labor," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(3), pages 575-596, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:08-208
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2009.10.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Kennan, 2010. "Private Information, Wage Bargaining and Employment Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 633-664.
    2. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2011. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 468-510.
    3. Murat Tasci, 2006. "On-the-Job Search and Labor Market Reallocation," 2006 Meeting Papers 333, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Krause, M.U. & Lubik, T.A., 2004. "On-the-job Search and the Cyclical Dynamics of the Labor Market," Other publications TiSEM 08a72137-ff72-4e18-add3-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
    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. 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, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chassamboulli, Andri, 2013. "Labor-market volatility in a matching model with worker heterogeneity and endogenous separations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 217-229.
    2. Stupnytska, Yuliia, 2015. "Asymmetric information in a search model with social contacts," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 548, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    3. Andri Chassamboulli & Theodore Palivos, 2014. "A Search‐Equilibrium Approach To The Effects Of Immigration On Labor Market Outcomes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55(1), pages 111-129, February.
    4. Martin Gervais & Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu & Yaniv Yedid‐Levi, 2015. "Technological Learning And Labor Market Dynamics," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56(1), pages 27-53, February.
    5. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2016. "The Cyclicality of the Opportunity Cost of Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(6), pages 1563-1618.
    6. Camilo Morales-Jimenez, 2017. "The Cyclical Behavior of Unemployment and Wages under Information Frictions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-047, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Dean Corbae & Andrew Glover & Daphne Chen, 2013. "Can Employer Credit Checks Create Poverty Traps?," 2013 Meeting Papers 875, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Reconciling Cyclical Movements in the Marginal Value of Time and the Marginal Product of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 281-323, April.
    9. Yaniv Yedid-Levi, 2016. "Why does employment in all major sectors move together over the business cycle?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 22, pages 131-156, October.
    10. Giuseppe Moscarini, 2013. "Comment on "Reference Dependence and Labor Market Fluctuations"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2013, Volume 28, pages 209-222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2011. "Worker Heterogeneity and Endogenous Separations in a Matching Model of Unemployment Fluctuations," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 128-154, January.
    12. Morin, Annaïg, 2017. "Cyclicality of wages and union power," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 1-22.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asymmetric information; Wage bargaining; Rent rigidity; Unemployment fluctuations; Volatility bound; Wage rigidity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • 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
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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