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The Trade-off Between Unemployment and Wage Inequality Revisited

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  • Alena Bicakova

Abstract

The Krugman hypothesis attributes high wage inequality in the US and high unemployment in continental Europe in the 1980s to the same negative change in the demand for the low skilled under different degrees of wage rigidity. This paper revisits the hypothesis in order to explain the labor market developments in France, the UK, and the US in the 1990s. We estimate a labor supply and labor demand model with heterogenous types of labor to analyze the effects of market forces and wage rigidity on changes in skill-group labor market outcomes. The results provide evidence in favor of the Krugman hypothesis when France is compared to the US and the UK. We also find support for an extended version of the Krugman hypothesis, which suggests that, when labor supply is sensitive to wages, there is a trade-off between unemployment on one hand, and wage inequality and inactivity on the other.

Suggested Citation

  • Alena Bicakova, 2014. "The Trade-off Between Unemployment and Wage Inequality Revisited," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp502, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp502
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2007. "Labor market institutions and demographic employment patterns," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(4), pages 833-867, October.
    2. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2008. "Unequal Pay or Unequal Employment? A Cross-Country Analysis of Gender Gaps," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 621-654, October.
    3. Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi & Denis Fougère & Erwan Gautier, 2013. "Wage Rigidity, Collective Bargaining, and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from French Agreement Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1337-1351, October.
    4. Alena Bicakova, 2006. "Market vs. Institutions: The Trade-off Between Unemployment and Wage Inequality Revisited," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/31, European University Institute.
    5. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Steedman, Hilary & McIntosh, Steven, 2001. "Measuring Low Skills in Europe: How Useful Is the ISCED Framework?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 564-581, July.
    7. Sarantis, Nicholas C., 1981. "Employment, labor supply and real wages in market disequilibrium," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 335-354.
    8. Alicia Adsera, 2005. "Vanishing Children: From High Unemployment to Low Fertility in Developed Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 189-193, May.
    9. Paul R. Krugman, 1994. "Past and prospective causes of high unemployment," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Jan, pages 49-98.
    10. Mark P. Moore & Priya Ranjan, 2005. "Globalisation vs Skill-Biased Technological Change: Implications for Unemployment and Wage Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 391-422, April.
    11. Gregg, Paul & Manning, Alan, 1997. "Skill-biassed change, unemployment and wage inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1173-1200, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Krugman hypothesis; wage rigidity; unemployment; inactivity;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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