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Spatial Wage Gaps and Frictional Labor Markets

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Abstract

We develop a job-ladder model with labor reallocation across firms and space, which we design to leverage matched employer-employee data to study differences in wages and labor productivity across regions. We apply our framework to data from Germany: twenty-five years after the reunification, real wages in the East are still 26 percent lower than those in the West. We find that 60 percent of the wage gap is due to labor being paid a higher wage per efficiency unit in West Germany, and quantify three distinct barriers that prevent East Germans from migrating west to obtain a higher wage: migration costs, workers' preferences to live in their home region, and more frequent job opportunities received from home. Interpreting the data as a frictional labor market, we estimate that these spatial barriers to mobility are small, which implies that the spatial misallocation of workers between East and West Germany has at most moderate aggregate effects.

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  • Sebastian Heise & Tommaso Porzio, 2019. "Spatial Wage Gaps and Frictional Labor Markets," Staff Reports 898, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:898
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    2. Busch, Christopher & Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander & Popova, Irina & Iftikhar, Zainab, 2020. "Should Germany have built a new wall? Macroeconomic lessons from the 2015-18 refugee wave," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 28-55.
    3. Shutters, Shade T. & Seibert, Holger & Alm, Bastian & Waters, Keith, 2021. "Industry interconnectedness and regional economic growth in Germany," IAB-Discussion Paper 202107, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. Emmler, Julian & Fitzenberger, Bernd, 2020. "The role of unemployment and job change when estimating the returns to migration," IAB-Discussion Paper 202037, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    5. Moser, Christian & Saidi, Farzad & Wirth, Benjamin & Wolter, Stefanie, 2020. "Credit Supply, Firms, and Earnings Inequality," MPRA Paper 100371, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Hao, Tongtong & Sun, Ruiqi & Tombe, Trevor & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2020. "The effect of migration policy on growth, structural change, and regional inequality in China," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 112-134.
    7. Morchio, Iacopo & Moser, Christian, 2018. "The Gender Pay Gap: Micro Sources and Macro Consequences," MPRA Paper 99276, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Mar 2020.
    8. Samuel Nocito & Marcello Sartarelli & Francesco Sobbrio, 2021. "A Beam of Light: Media, Tourism & Economic Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 9055, CESifo.
    9. Morchio, Iacopo & Moser, Christian, 2018. "The Gender Pay Gap: Micro Sources and Macro Consequences," MPRA Paper 99276, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Mar 2020.
    10. Samuel Nocito & Marcello Sartarelli & Francesco Sobbrio, 2022. "A Beam of Light: Media, Tourism and Economic Development," Working Papers 2/22, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    11. Kirchberger, Martina, 2021. "Measuring internal migration," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    12. Jia, Ning & Molloy, Raven & Smith, Christopher L. & Wozniak, Abigail, 2022. "The Economics of Internal Migration: Advances and Policy Questions," IZA Discussion Papers 15047, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Emmler, Julian & Fitzenberger, Bernd, 2020. "The Role of Unemployment and Job Change When Estimating the Returns to Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 13740, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Jung, Philip & Korfmann, Philipp & Preugschat, Edgar, 2021. "Optimal Regional Labor Market Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 14204, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    migration; aggregate labor productivity; employment; labor mobility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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