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The cost of business cycles for unskilled workers

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  • Toshihiko Mukoyama
  • Aysegül Sahin

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the cost of business cycles under incomplete markets. Primarily, we focus on the heterogeneity in the cost of business cycles among agents with different skill levels. Unskilled workers are subject to a much larger risk of unemployment during recessions than are skilled workers. Moreover, unskilled workers earn less income, which limits their ability to self-insure. We examine how this heterogeneity in unemployment risk and income translates into heterogeneity in the cost of business cycles. We set up a dynamic general equilibrium model with incomplete markets, in which there is heterogeneity in skills, employment status, asset holding, and the discount factor. We find that the welfare cost of business cycles for unskilled workers is substantially higher than that for skilled workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegül Sahin, 2005. "The cost of business cycles for unskilled workers," Staff Reports 214, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:214
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 187-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    12. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
    13. Michael Keane & Eswar Prasad, 1993. "Skill Levels and the Cyclical Variability of Employment, Hours, and Wages," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(4), pages 711-743, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Ayşegül Şahin, 2010. "Labour-Market Matching with Precautionary Savings and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1477-1507.

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    Keywords

    Unemployment ; Business cycles ; Labor market;

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