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Self-Enforcing Labour Contracts and the Dynamics Puzzle

  • Christian Calmès

To properly account for the dynamics of key macroeconomic variables, researchers incorporate various internal-propagation mechanisms in their models. In general, these mechanisms implicitly rely on the assumption of a perfect equality between the real wage and the marginal product of labour. The author proposes a theoretical validation of a micro-founded internal-propagation mechanism: he builds a model that features a limited-commitment economy, and derives endogenous self-enforcing labour contracts that produce a different linkage between the real wage and the marginal product of labour. The risk-sharing between the entrepreneur and the worker, both faced with enforcement problems, provides an admissible explanation of the prolonged comovements observed between consumption and labour. Since these co-movements are at the core of the persistence of the impulse response of output to exogenous technology shocks, this persistence can, in turn, be rationalized with the endogenous real rigidity emerging from the economy. The author shows that, in this framework, the persistence ultimately depends on the initial bargaining power and the magnitude of the risk-sharing.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 05-1.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:05-1
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  1. Boldrin, Michael & Horvath, Michael, 1995. "Labor Contracts and Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 972-1004, October.
  2. Gomme, Paul & Greenwood, Jeremy, 1995. "On the cyclical allocation of risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 91-124.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 24, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  5. W. Bentley MacLeod & James M. Malcomson, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Working Papers 585, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Gauthier, Celine & Poitevin, Michel & Gonzalez, Patrick, 1997. "Ex Ante Payments in Self-Enforcing Risk-Sharing Contracts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 106-144, September.
  7. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
  8. Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Measures of fit for calibrated models," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
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  12. Dutkowsky, Donald H & Atesoglu, H Sonmez, 1993. "Wage Contracting in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(1), pages 62-78, February.
  13. Krueger, Dirk & Uhlig, Harald, 2004. "Competitive Risk Sharing Contracts with One-Sided Commitment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4208, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
  15. Burda, Michael C. & Güth, Werner & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Uhlig, Harald, 1998. "Employment duration and resistance to wage reductions: Experimental evidence," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,74, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  16. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1996. "Real-Business-Cycle Models and the Forecastable Movements in Output, Hours, and Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 71-89, March.
  17. Galí, Jordi, 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1988. "Self-enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 541-54, October.
  19. Thomas Cooley & Ramon Marimon & Vicenzo Quadrini, 1999. "Aggregate consequences of limited contract enforceability," Economics Working Papers 843, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2003.
  20. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 1986. "The Theory of Contracts," Working papers 418, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  21. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 1635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. Paul J. Devereux & Joseph G. Altonji, 2000. "The extent and consequences of downward nominal wage rigidity," Open Access publications 10197/311, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  24. Fabrice Collard & David de la Croix, 2000. "Gift Exchange and the Business Cycle: The Fair Wage Strikes Back," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 166-193, January.
  25. Kevin Huang & Z. Liu, . "Staggered contracts and business cycle persistence," Working Papers 2000-08, Utah State University, Department of Economics.
  26. McCallum, Bennett T & Nelson, Edward, 1999. "An Optimizing IS-LM Specification for Monetary Policy and Business Cycle Analysis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 296-316, August.
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  30. Steve Ambler & Alain Guay & Louis Phaneuf, 1999. "Wage Contracts and Labor Adjustment Costs as Endogenous Propagation Mechanisms," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 69, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  31. repec:dgr:kubcen:199554 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Martin Lettau & Harald Uhlig, 2000. "Can Habit Formation be Reconciled with Business Cycle Facts?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 79-99, January.
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