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Search frictions and the labor wedge

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  • Andrea Pescatori
  • Murat Tasci

Abstract

This paper assesses whether labor market frictions, in the form of searching and matching, can help explain movements in the labor wedge--the gap between the marginal rate of substitution (MRS) and the marginal productivity of labor in a perfectly competitive business cycle model. Results suggest that those frictions are not able to explain fluctuations in the labor wedge, per se. However, the introduction of extensive and intensive margin shows that measuring the MRS in terms of total hours artificially introduces procyclicality in the MRS. When the MRS is correctly measured in terms of hours per worker, the labor wedge obtained is less variable than the one of the perfectly competitive model. A Frisch elasticity of 2.8, as in most macro models, implies a 20 percent decline in the variability of the labor wedge. A Frisch elasticity closer to micro estimates implies an even higher reduction. Finally, we show that it is possible to measure a strongly procyclical labor wedge as in CKM (2007) even if the actual data generating process does not have any labor wedge but has search frictions that allow for movements in both labor margins.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Pescatori & Murat Tasci, 2011. "Search frictions and the labor wedge," Working Papers (Old Series) 1111, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1111
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    Cited by:

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    2. Małgorzata Skibińska, 2015. "What drives the labour wedge? A comparison between CEE countries and the Euro Area," NBP Working Papers 220, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    3. Beauchemin, Kenneth & Tasci, Murat, 2014. "Diagnosing Labor Market Search Models: A Multiple-Shock Approach," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 548-572, April.
    4. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow & Benjamin A. Malin, 2018. "Resurrecting the Role of the Product Market Wedge in Recessions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(4-5), pages 1118-1146, April.
    5. Kobayashi, Keiichiro & Shirai, Daichi, 2016. "Heterogeneity And Redistribution In Financial Crises," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(6), pages 1527-1549, September.
    6. Cheremukhin, Anton A. & Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina, 2014. "The labor wedge as a matching friction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 71-92.
    7. Shirai, Daichi, 2016. "Persistence and Amplification of Financial Frictions," MPRA Paper 72187, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Epstein, Brendan & Mukherjee, Rahul & Finkelstein Shapiro, Alan & Ramnath, Shanthi, 2020. "Trends in aggregate employment, hours worked per worker, and the long-run labor wedge," MPRA Paper 99289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Skibińska, Małgorzata, 2016. "What drives the labour wedge? A comparison between CEE countries and the Euro Area," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 148-161.
    10. Keiichiro Kobayashi & Daichi Shirai, 2012. "Debt-Ridden Borrowers and Productivity Slowdown," CIGS Working Paper Series 14-005E, The Canon Institute for Global Studies.
    11. Keiichiro Kobayashi & Daichi Shirai, 2017. "Debt-Ridden Borrowers and Economic Slowdown," CIGS Working Paper Series 17-002E, The Canon Institute for Global Studies.
    12. Zhang, Lini, 2018. "Credit crunches, individual heterogeneity and the labor wedge," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 65-88.
    13. Anna Watson, 2019. "Financial Frictions, the Great Trade Collapse and International Trade over the Business Cycle," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 19-64, February.
    14. Skibińska, Małgorzata, 2016. "What drives the labour wedge? A comparison between CEE countries and the Euro Area," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 148-161.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor market; Business cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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