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Limited Commitment Models of the Labour Market

  • Jonathan Thomas
  • Tim Worrall

We present an overview of models of long-term self-enforcing labor contracts in which risk sharing is the dominant motive for contractual solutions. A base model is developed which is sufficiently general to encompass the two-agent problem central to most of the literature, including variable hours. We consider two-sided limited commitment and look at its implications for aggregate labor market variables. We consider the implications for empirical testing and the available empirical evidence. We also consider the one-sided limited commitment problem for which there exists a considerable amount of empirical support.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2109.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2109
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  1. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1988. "Self-enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 541-54, October.
  2. Andy Snell & Jonathan Thomas, 2006. "Labour Contracts, Equal Treatment and Wage-Unemployment Dynamics," ESE Discussion Papers 144, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  3. Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of real wages within employer-employee matches," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
  4. Donggyun Shin & Kwanho Shin, 2003. "Why Are The Wages of Job Stayers Procyclical?," ISER Discussion Paper 0573, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  5. Dubois, P. & Jullien, B. & Magnac, T., 2006. "Formal and informal risk sharing in LDCs : theory and empirical evidence," Economics Working Paper Archive (Toulouse) 200608, French Institute for Agronomy Research (INRA), Economics Laboratory in Toulouse (ESR Toulouse).
  6. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1987. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Long-term Employment Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 50-68, March.
  7. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  8. Claudio Michelacci & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2009. "Financial Markets and Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 795-827.
  9. Dirk Krueger & Harald Uhlig, 2003. "Competitive Risk Sharing Contracts with One-Sided Commitment," NBER Working Papers 10135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
  11. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2000. "Mutual Insurance, Individual Savings and Limited Commitment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(2), pages 216-246, April.
  12. Malcomson, James M., 1999. "Individual employment contracts," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 2291-2372 Elsevier.
  13. John Haltiwanger & Michael Waldman, 1985. "Insurance and Labor Market Contracting: An Analysis of the Capital Market Assumption," UCLA Economics Working Papers 370, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Michele Boldrin & Michael Horvath, 1994. "Labor Contracts and Business Cycles," Discussion Papers 1068, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Paul J. Devereux & Robert A. Hart, 2007. "The Spot Market Matters: Evidence On Implicit Contracts From Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(5), pages 661-683, November.
  16. 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.
  17. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  18. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  19. Sigouin, Christian, 2004. "Self-enforcing employment contracts and business cycle fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 339-373, March.
  20. Rosen, Sherwin, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 1144-75, September.
  21. Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, February.
  22. Darren Grant, 2003. "The effect of implicit contracts on the movement of wages over the business cycle: Evidence from the national longitudinal surveys," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 393-408, April.
  23. 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.
  24. Moen, E.R., 1995. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Memorandum 37/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  25. Leena Rudanko, 2005. "Labor Market Dynamics under Long Term Wage Contracting," 2005 Meeting Papers 876, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  26. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1995. "Is the Behavior of Hours Worked Consistent with Implicit Contract Theory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 743-68, August.
  27. Christian Sigouin, 2000. "Self-enforcing Employment Contracts and Business Cycle Fluctuations," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 127, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  28. Christian Calmès, 2007. "Self-Enforcing Labour Contracts and Macroeconomic Dynamics," International Advances in Economic Research, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 13(2), pages 200-213, May.
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