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Skill Specific Unemployment with Imperfect Substitution of Skills

  • Runli Xie
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    A large body of literature explains the inferior position of unskilled workers by imposing a structural shift in the labor force skill composition. This paper takes a different approach by emphasizing the connection between cyclical variations in skilled and unskilled labor markets. Using a stylized business cycle model with search frictions in the respective sub-markets, I find that imperfect substitution between skilled and unskilled labor creates a channel for the variations in the sub-markets. Together with a general labor augment- ing technology shock, it can generate downward sloping Beveridge curves. Calibrating the model to US data yields higher volatilities in the unskilled labor markets and reproduces stylized business cycle facts.

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    File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2008-024.pdf
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    Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2008-024.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-024
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    1. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U. S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2095, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Andolfatto, David, 1996. "Business Cycles and Labor-Market Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 112-32, March.
    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. Pierrard, Olivier & Sneessens, Henri R., 2003. "Low-Skilled Unemployment, Biased Technological Shocks and Job Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 784, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 1707, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Peter Gottschalk & Michael Hansen, 1999. "Is the Proportion of College Workers in 'Non-College' Jobs Increasing?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 429, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 20 Feb 2001.
    8. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Job Loss, Job Finding, and Unemployment in the U.S. Economy Over the Past Fifty Years," NBER Working Papers 11678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Greiner, Alfred & Rubart, Jens & Semmler, Willi, 2004. "Economic growth, skill-biased technical change and wage inequality: A model and estimations for the US and Europe," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 597-621, December.
    10. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain The Rising Return To College For Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746, May.
    11. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
    12. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
    13. Gautier, Pieter A, 2002. "Unemployment and Search Externalities in a Model with Heterogeneous Jobs and Workers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(273), pages 21-40, February.
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