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State-Level Evidence on the Cyclicality of Real Wages

Author

Listed:
  • Bryan Perry

    () (Department of Economics, MIT)

  • Kerk L. Phillips

    () (Department of Economics, Brigham Young University)

  • David E. Spencer

    () (Department of Economics, Brigham Young University)

Abstract

There is considerable evidence that real wages have become more procyclical over time in the U.S. A novel explanation for this phenomenon has been recently offered by Huang, Liu, and Phaneuf (2004), HLP. They develop a model to show that, as the input-output structure of an economy becomes more sophisticated, the response of real wages to an aggregate demand shock becomes more procyclical (less countercyclical) in an environment with both sticky wages and prices. We test the basic prediction of their model using state-level data in the U.S. We exploit the fact that the economies of individual states in the U.S. exhibit a range of input-output structures in the production process. This variation allows us to examine how the cyclical response of real wages to aggregate monetary policy varies with production structure in order to test the HLP hypothesis. We find strong support for the hypothesis. Our direct empirical test complements the evidence provided by HLP in their original paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryan Perry & Kerk L. Phillips & David E. Spencer, 2012. "State-Level Evidence on the Cyclicality of Real Wages," BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory Working Paper Series 2012-05, Brigham Young University, Department of Economics, BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory.
  • Handle: RePEc:byu:byumcl:201205
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2004. "A New Measure of Monetary Shocks: Derivation and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1055-1084, September.
    2. Taylor, John B., 1999. "Staggered price and wage setting in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 1009-1050 Elsevier.
    3. Basu, Susanto, 1995. "Intermediate Goods and Business Cycles: Implications for Productivity and Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 512-531, June.
    4. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles, 1996. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Evidence from the Flow of Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 16-34, February.
    5. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
    6. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148 Elsevier.
    7. Ben S. Bernanke & James Powell, 1986. "The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Prewar and Postwar Eras," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 583-638 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Kevin X.D. Huang & Zheng Liu & Louis Phaneuf, 2004. "Why Does the Cyclical Behavior of Real Wages Change Over Time?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 836-856, September.
    9. Spencer, David E, 1998. "The Relative Stickiness of Wages and Prices," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 120-137, January.
    10. Susanto Basu & Alan M. Taylor, 1999. "Business Cycles in International Historical Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 45-68, Spring.
    11. Gamber, Edward N & Joutz, Frederick L, 1993. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1387-1393, December.
    12. Charles A. Fleischman, 1999. "The causes of business cycles and the cyclicality of real wages," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    real wages; monetary policy; U.S. states;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General

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