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On The Sources And Size Of Employment Adjustment Costs

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  • Lucia Foster

Abstract

Micro employment adjustment costs affect not only establishment-level dynamics but can also affect aggregate employment dynamics. The difficulties in directly observing and measuring these adjustment costs necessitate an indirect approach in order to learn more about the sources and size of these costs. This paper examines differences in employment adjustments by worker and establishment characteristics using micro-level data for approximately 11,000 U.S. manufacturing plants. Differences in the speed of adjustment within the organizing framework of the traditional partial adjustment model are used to identify the source and size of employment adjustment costs. The estimates are undertaken using three different techniques and under a variety of assumptions concerning market structure, worker heterogeneity, and degree of interrelation of inputs. The estimates show that employment adjustment speeds differ over worker and establishment characteristics in a manner that is consistent with the underlying adjustment cost stories. These differences suggest that systematic changes in the distribution of establishments over these characteristics can influence aggregate employment dynamics in response to a shock through compositional effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucia Foster, 1999. "On The Sources And Size Of Employment Adjustment Costs," Working Papers 99-7, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:99-7
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/1999/CES-WP-99-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 1993. "Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 359-383.
    3. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan N. Houseman, 1993. "Job Security and Work Force Adjustment: How Different are U.S. and Japanese Practices?," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers,in: Christopher F. Buechtemann (ed.), Employment Security and Labor Market Behavior: Interdisciplinary Approaches and International Evidence, pages 180-199 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    4. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    5. James D Adams & Adam B Jaffe, 1994. "The Span of the Effect of R&D in the Firm and Industry," Working Papers 94-7, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Bergstrom, Villy & Panas, Epaminondas E, 1992. "How Robust Is the Capital-Skill Complementarity Hypothesis?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 540-546, August.
    7. Bresson, G & Kramarz, F & Sevestre, P, 1992. "Heterogeneous Labor and the Dynamics of Aggregate Labor Demand: Some Estimations Using Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 153-168.
    8. Caballero, Ricardo J & Engel, Eduardo M R A & Haltiwanger, John, 1997. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building from Microeconomic Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 115-137, March.
    9. Beggs, John J. & Nerlove, Marc, 1988. "Biases in dynamic models with fixed effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 29-31.
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    Cited by:

    1. Norman V. Loayza & Luis Servén, 2010. "Business Regulation and Economic Performance," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2554.
    2. Lucia Foster, 1999. "Employment Adjustment Costs and Establishment Characteristics," Working Papers 99-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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    Keywords

    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

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