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Employment Changes, the Structure of Adjustment Costs, and Plant Size

In this paper we analyze the pattern of employment adjustment using a rich panel of Norwegian plants. The data suggest that the frequency of episodes of zero net employment changes is inversely related to plant size. We develop and estimate a simple “q” model of labor demand, allowing for the presence of fixed, linear and convex components of adjustment costs. The econometric evidence supports the existence of purely fixed components, unrelated to plant size. As a result, the range of inaction is wider for smaller plants. The quadratic components of costs are also important. Finally, in most specifications both fixed and convex costs are higher for employment contractions.

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Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 11/03.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 02 Nov 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2003_011
Contact details of provider: Postal: Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
Web page: http://www.uib.no/econ/enEmail:


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  1. Austan Goolsbee & David B. Gross, 1997. "Estimating Adjustment Costs with Data on Heterogeneous Capital Goods," NBER Working Papers 6342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," NBER Working Papers 5260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bentolila, Samuel & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1994. "A model of labor demand with linear adjustment costs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 303-326, September.
  4. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Jonas D.M. Fisher, 1996. "Aggregate Employment Fluctuations with Microeconomic Asymmetries," NBER Working Papers 5767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Simon Gilchrist & Charles Himmelberg, 1998. "Investment, Fundamentals and Finance," NBER Working Papers 6652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1988. "Labor Demand and the Structure of Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 2572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis, 2003. "The costs of hiring and separations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 499-530, October.
  8. Øivind Anti Nilsen & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2003. "Zeros and Lumps in Investment: Empirical Evidence on Irreversibilities and Nonconvexities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1021-1037, November.
  9. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-47, February.
  10. Kramarz, Francis & Michaud, Marie-Laure, 2003. "The Shape of Hiring and Separation Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 3685, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Letterie, Wilko A. & Pfann, Gerard A., 2007. "Structural identification of high and low investment regimes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 797-819, April.
  12. Mark E. Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1998. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 409-429, April.
  13. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1999. "The Entry And Exit Of Workers And The Growth Of Employment: An Analysis Of French Establishments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 170-187, May.
  14. Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric & Pauchet, Marianne, 2001. "Fixed-term contracts and the dynamics of labour demand," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 533-552, March.
  15. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Gerard A. Pfann, 1996. "Adjustment Costs in Factor Demand," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1264-1292, September.
  16. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, 1993. "A Unified Model of Investment Under Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 4296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Salvanes, Kjell G, 1997. " Market Rigidities and Labour Market Flexibility: An International Comparison," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(2), pages 315-33, June.
  18. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1992. "A General Model of Dynamic Labor Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 733-37, November.
  19. Simon Burgess & Julia Lane & David Stevens, 1996. "Job Flows, Worker Flows and Churning," Labor and Demography 9604004, EconWPA.
  20. Pfann, Gerald A. & Verspagen, Bart, 1989. "The structure of adjustment costs for labour in the Dutch manufacturing sector," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 365-371.
  21. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Jonas D.M.Fisher, 2000. "Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Employment Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 7936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Paola Rota, 2004. "Estimating Labor Demand with Fixed Costs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 25-48, 02.
  23. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-73, March.
  24. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1993. "Labor Demand and the Source of Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 4394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Arthur Lewbel, 2000. "Endogenous Selection Or Treatment Model Estimation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 462, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 13 Jun 2007.
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