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Wages and unemployment across business cycles: a high-frequency investigation

  • Lei Fang
  • Pedro Silos

This paper investigates the change in wages associated with a spell of unemployment. The novelty lies in using monthly data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to analyze the dynamics of those wage changes across different business cycles. The level of education or the sector of re-employment affects the change in wages following an unemployment spell differently across different downturns. The degree of wage rigidity varies across recessions; wage changes pre- and post-unemployment are sometimes procyclical and sometimes countercyclical. These results may be useful for understanding the different aggregate employment dynamics observed across downturns and recoveries.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. with number 2012-16.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2012-16
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  1. Alessandro Barattieri & Susanto Basu & Peter Gottschalk, 2010. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Wages," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 740, Boston College Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Christian Haefke & Marcus Sonntag & Thijs van Rens, 2007. "Wage rigidity and job creation," Economics Working Papers 1047, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2012.
  4. Rendon Sílvio, 2006. "Job Search And Asset Accumulation Under Borrowing Constraints ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 233-263, 02.
  5. Barlevy, Gadi, 2001. "Why Are the Wages of Job Changers So Procyclical?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 837-78, October.
  6. Robert Shimer, 2004. "The Consequences of Rigid Wages in Search Models," NBER Working Papers 10326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
  8. 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.
  9. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  10. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
  11. Alfonso Rosolia & Gilles Saint Paul, 1998. "The effect of unemployment spells on subsequent wages in Spain," Economics Working Papers 295, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  12. Vishwanath, Tara, 1989. "Job Search, Stigma Effect, and Escape Rate from Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 487-502, October.
  13. Addison, John T & Portugal, Pedro, 1989. "Job Displacement, Relative Wage Changes, and Duration of Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 281-302, July.
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