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Skill Specific Unemployment with Imperfect Substitution of Skills

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  • Runli Xie

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Runli Xie, 2008. "Skill Specific Unemployment with Imperfect Substitution of Skills," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-024, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-024
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
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    3. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
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    5. Olivier, Pierrard & Henri R., Sneessens, 2002. "Low-Skilled Unemployment, Biased Technological Shocks and Job Competition," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2003014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 03 May 2002.
    6. 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.
    7. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," NBER Working Papers 11627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycle; search frictions; skill specific unemployment; skill substitutability;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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