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Do firms provide wage insurance against shocks? Evidence from Hungary

  • Kátay, Gábor

In this paper I address the question to what extent wages are affected by product market uncertainty. Implicit contract models imply that it is Pareto optimal for risk neutral firms to provide insurance to risk averse workers against shocks. Using matched employer-employee dataset, I adopted the estimation strategy proposed by Guiso et al. (2005) to evaluate wage responses to both permanent and transitory shocks in Hungary and compared my results to similar studies on Italian and Portuguese datasets. I found that firms do insure workers against product market uncertainties, but the magnitude of the wage response differs depending on the nature of the shock. Broadly speaking, the wage response to permanent shocks is twice as high as the response to transitory shocks. Comparing my results to the two other studies, the main di¤erence lies in the elasticity of wages to transitory shocks. Unlike these previous findings, my results show that full insurance to transitory shocks is rejected. JEL Classification: C33, D21, J33, J41

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0964.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20080964
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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  3. Harris, Milton & Holstrom, Bengt, 1982. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 315-33, July.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2001. "Insurance within the Firm," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 414, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  5. Cardoso, Ana Rute & Portela, Miguel, 2005. "The Provision of Wage Insurance by the Firm: Evidence from a Longitudinal Matched Employer-Employee Dataset," IZA Discussion Papers 1865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Weiss, Yoram, 1984. "Wage Contracts When Output Grows Stochastically: The Roles of Mobility Costs and Capital Market Imperfections," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 155-73, April.
  7. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Gamber, Edward N, 1988. "Long-term Risk-Sharing Wage Contracts in an Economy Subject to Permanent and Temporary Shocks," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 83-99, January.
  9. 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.
  10. Ichino, Andrea, 1994. "Flexible labor compensation, risk sharing and company leverage," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1411-1421, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Bengt Holmstrom, 1980. "Contractural Models of the Labor Market," Discussion Papers 442, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Gábor Kátay & Zoltán Wolf, 2008. "Driving Factors of Growth in Hungary - a Decomposition Exercise," MNB Working Papers 2008/6, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
  14. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  15. Paul J. Devereux, 2005. "Do Employers Provide Insurance against Low Frequency Shocks? Industry Employment and Industry Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 313-340, April.
  16. Gábor Kátay & Zoltán Wolf, 2004. "Investment Behavior, User Cost and Monetary Policy Transmission - the Case of Hungary," MNB Working Papers 2004/12, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
  17. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Short-run Equilibrium Dynamics of Unemployment Vacancies, and Real Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 676-90, September.
  18. Gordon, Donald F, 1974. "A Neo-Classical Theory of Keynesian Unemployment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(4), pages 431-59, December.
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