How Elastic is the Demand for Labor?
This paper investigates the magnitude of the elasticity of demand for labor in time series data using more general and complete models of demand than have been previously employed. It argues that previous analyses have imposed two invalid constraints in calculations, which bias downward estimated elasticities. The first invalid constraint is the assumption that real capital prices have an equal opposite effect to real wages in the demand equation. We show on measurement error grounds that this constraint should not be imposed in econometric work even when long run homogeneity of prices correctly characterizes the market. The constraint is rejected in the data. The second invalid constraint is that all explanatory variables have the same lag distribution. We argue that this constraint is invalid when decisions are made under uncertainty and find that it is also rejected by the data. The principal positive empirical finding is that with the constraints relaxed, the elasticity, of demand with respect to real wages is much larger than the estimates in the literature, indicating much greater price responsiveness on the demand side of the labor market than has previously been thought.
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Volume (Year): 62 (1980)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Binswanger, Hans P., 1973. "A Cost Function Approach To The Measurement Of Factor Demand Elasticities And Elasticities Of Substitution," Staff Papers 13478, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
- Rosen, Sherwin & Nadiri, M Ishaq, 1974.
"A Disequilibrium Model of Demand for Factors of Production,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 264-270, May.
- M. Ishaq Nadiri & Sherwin Rosen, 1973. "A Disequilibrium Model of Demand for Factors of Production," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number nadi73-1, April.
- M. Ishaq Nadiri & Sherwin Rosen, 1974. "A Disequilibrium Model of Demand for Factors of Production," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number nadi74-1, April.
- Marc Nerlove, 1967. "Distributed Lags and Unobserved Components in Economic Time Series," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 221, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Ernst R. Berndt & Bronwyn H. Hall & Robert E. Hall & Jerry A. Hausman, 1974. "Estimation and Inference in Nonlinear Structural Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 4, pages 653-665 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Y. Mundlak, 1968. "Elasticities of Substitution and the Theory of Derived Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 225-236. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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