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Movements of Wages over the Business Cycle: An Intra-Firm View

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  • Beth Anne Wilson

Abstract

This paper tests the hypothesis that firms adjust to the business cycle by altering employment through promotion and hiring and holding the salary structure and salaries assigned to jobs relatively constant. Two comprehensive firm-level panel datasets are used to examine salary setting and worker movement within firms. The salary structure is found to be rigid whereas promotion rates are cyclically sensitive. In contrast to the hypothesis, wage cyclicality in these two firms is driven by changes in salaries associated with jobs rather than by worker movement. An additional finding is that salaries in the two firms are countercyclical.

Suggested Citation

  • Beth Anne Wilson, "undated". "Movements of Wages over the Business Cycle: An Intra-Firm View," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-01, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1997-01
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1997/199701/199701pap.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
    2. Blank, Rebecca M, 1990. "Why Are Wages Cyclical in the 1970s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 16-47, January.
    3. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
    4. 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 666-689, August.
    5. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-257, July.
    6. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, March.
    7. Chirinko, Robert S, 1980. "The Real Wage Rate over the Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 459-461, August.
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    Keywords

    Wage cyclicality ; firm-level data;

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