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Disentangling Labor Supply and Demand Shifts Using Spatial Wage Dispersion: The Case of Oil Price Shocks


  • Matthias Kehrig
  • Nicolas Vincent


We separate changes in labor supply and demand through changes in higher-order moments of the wage distribution. We illustrate this idea in a study of the effects of oil price shocks, which generate a predictable labor demand adjustment across regions. Empirically, oil price shocks decrease average wages, particularly skilled wages, and increase wage dispersion, particularly unskilled wage dispersion. In a model with spatial energy intensity differences and nontradables, labor demand shifts, while explaining the response of average wages to oil price shocks, have counterfactual implications for the response of wage dispersion. Only shifts in labor supply can explain this latter fact.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Kehrig & Nicolas Vincent, 2013. "Disentangling Labor Supply and Demand Shifts Using Spatial Wage Dispersion: The Case of Oil Price Shocks," Working Papers 13-57, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:13-57

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Wage dispersion; Labor reallocation; Skill heterogeneity; Oil prices;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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