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Wage and (un-)employment effects of an ageing workforce

  • Jochen Michaelis

    ()

  • Martin Debus

In almost all Western economies the median age of the workforce is increasing due to demographic factors. Given the empirical fact that workers of different ages are not perfect substitutes in production, this paper explores how change in the age pattern affects wages and (un)employment. We develop a general equilibrium model where wages for young and old workers are set by monopoly unions at the firm-level. Contrary to the common wisdom on this topic, we show that an increase in the relative number of older workers for a given labor force size has no effect on young and old unemployment. If, however, unions attach a higher weight to the wishes of the old, the unemployment rate of the old (young) will increase (decrease). In this case we observe a redistribution of wage income from the young to the old.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00148-010-0325-9
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 1493-1511

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:24:y:2011:i:4:p:1493-1511
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  1. Andrea Ichino & Guido Schwerdt & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer & Andrea Ichino, 2013. "Too Old to Work, Too Young to Retire?," Economics working papers 2013-13, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Layard, R. & Nickell, S., 1988. "Is Unemployment Lower If Unions Bargain Over Employment?," Papers 308, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  3. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
  4. Jochen Michaelis & Michael Pflüger, 2000. "The impact of tax reforms on unemployment in a SMOPEC," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 72(2), pages 175-201, June.
  5. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "International Patterns of Union Membership," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 1-28, 03.
  6. Axel Börsch-Supan, 2003. "Labor Market Effects of Population Aging," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 17(SpecialIs), pages 5-44, 08.
  7. Roger, Muriel & Aubert, Patrick & Caroli, Eve, 2006. "New technologies, organisation and age: firm-level evidence," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10051, Paris Dauphine University.
  8. Pissarides, Christopher A., 1989. "Unemployment consequences of an aging population: An application of insider-outsider theory," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 355-366, March.
  9. Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1991. "Ageing and the Labor Market: Age Structure, Cohort Size and Unemployment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 177-200, August.
  10. Vegard Skirbekk, 2004. "Age and Individual Productivity: A Literature Survey," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 2(1), pages 133-154.
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