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Biased Technological Shocks, Wage Rigidities and Low-Skilled Unemployment

  • Olivier Pierrard
  • Henri Sneessens

The contrast between the evolution over the last decades of the EU and the US unemployment rates, especially for the low-skilled, is well known. A consensus view is that these different outcomes can be explained by the interactions between common shocks and specific institutional setups. In this paper, we emphasise the interactions between technological changes and wages ridigities. We construct a fully calibrated general equilibrium model with two types of jobs and two types of workers, and with search unemployment. Our simulations show that with wages rigidities, technological changes suffice to generate a continuous rise in the low-skilled unemployment rate and an almost unchanged high-skilled unemployment rate. Without wage rigidities, the unemployment rates remain unchanged but the wage dispersion widens.

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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 020.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:020
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  1. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. den Haan, Wouter J. & Haefke, Christian & Ramey, Garey, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7x3544bn, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  3. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Machin, S. & Van Reenen, J., 1997. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," Papers 24, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  5. Marco Manacorda & Barbara Petrongolo, 1996. "Skill Mismatch and Unemployment in OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0307, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
  7. E. Berman & J. Bound & S. Machin, 1997. "Implications of skill-biased technological change: international evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20314, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. James Albrecht & Susan Vroman, 2000. "A Matching Model with Endogenous Skill Requirements," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0774, Econometric Society.
  9. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  10. Decreuse, Bruno, 2003. "Choosy search and the mismatch of talents," MPRA Paper 3636, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2007.
  11. Cockx, Bart & Dejemeppe, Muriel, 2002. "Do the Higher Educated Unemployed Crowd Out the Lower Educated Ones in a Competition for Jobs?," IZA Discussion Papers 541, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Bertola, Giuseppe & Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence, 2001. "Comparative Analysis of Labour Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3023, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J, 2004. "European Unemployment and Turbulence Revisited in a Matching Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 4183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Blázquez Cuesta, Maite & Jansen, Marcel, 2003. "Efficiency in a Matching Model with Heterogeneous Agents: Too Many Good or Bad Jobs?," IZA Discussion Papers 968, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Dolado, Juan J. & Felgueroso, Florentino & Jimeno, Juan F., 2000. "Youth labour markets in Spain: Education, training, and crowding-out," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 943-956, May.
  16. Hartog, Joop, 2000. "Over-education and earnings: where are we, where should we go?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 131-147, April.
  17. Andolfatto, David, 1996. "Business Cycles and Labor-Market Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 112-32, March.
  18. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
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