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Dynamics of labor demand : evidence from plant-level observations and aggregate implications

  • Russell Cooper
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Jonathan L. Willis

This paper studies the dynamics of labor demand at the micro and aggregate level. The correlation of hours and employment growth is negative at the plant level and positive in aggregate time series. Further, hours and employment growth are about equally volatile at the plant level while hours growth is much less volatile than employment growth in the aggregate data. Given these differences, we specify and estimate the parameters of a plant-level dynamic optimization problem using simulated method of moments to match plant-level observations. Our findings indicate that non-convex adjustment costs are critical for explaining plant-level moments on hours and employment. Aggregation generates time-series implications which are broadly consistent with observation. Further, we find that a model with quadratic adjustment costs alone can also broadly match the aggregate facts.

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File URL: http://www.kansascityfed.org/Publicat/Reswkpap/pdf/RWP03-12.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number RWP 03-12.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp03-12
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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building From Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Estimation of Dynamic Labor Demand Schedules under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1009-44, December.
  3. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1988. "Labor Demand and the Structure of Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 2572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Caballero, Ricardo J & Engel, Eduardo M R A, 1993. "Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 359-83, May.
  6. Russell W. Cooper & Jonathan Willis, 2003. "The Cost of Labor Adjustment: Inferences from the Gap," NBER Working Papers 10006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Cooper, Russell & Haltiwanger, John, 1993. "The Aggregate Implications of Machine Replacement: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 360-82, June.
  8. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  9. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
  10. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1993. "Labor Demand and the Source of Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 4394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
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