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What Determines the Reservation Wages of Unemployed Workers? New Evidence From German Micro Data

  • Eswar Prasad

This paper provides new empirical evidence on the relationship between reservation wages of unemployed workers and macroeconomic factors--including the unemployment rate and generosity of the unemployment compensation system--as well as individual-specific determinants, such as human capital proxies and length of unemployment spell. The longitudinal dataset provides an interesting perspective on how reservation wages change over time and how they correlate with accepted wage offers for workers who move from unemployment to employment. The findings shed light on the disincentive effects of the German tax and transfer system for the employment decisions of unemployed workers at different skill levels.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 03/4.

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Length: 23
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/4
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  1. Jones, Stephen R G, 1989. "Reservation Wages and the Cost of Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(222), pages 225-46, May.
  2. Jones, Stephen R G, 1988. "The Relationship between Unemployment Spells and Reservation Wages as a Test of Search Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 741-65, November.
  3. Jennifer Hunt, 1992. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 50, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Eswar S. Prasad, 2004. "The Unbearable Stability of the German Wage Structure: Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(2), pages 354-385.
  5. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "The Role of Wage and Skill Differences in US-German Employment Differences," NBER Working Papers 7474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Wolfgang Franz, 1980. "The Reservation Wage of Unemployed Persons in the Federal Republic of Germany: Theory and Empirical Tests," NBER Working Papers 0578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lancaster, Tony & Chesher, Andrew, 1983. "An Econometric Analysis of Reservation Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1661-76, November.
  8. Kiefer, Nicholas M & Neumann, George R, 1979. "An Empirical Job-Search Model, with a Test of the Constant Reservation-Wage Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(1), pages 89-107, February.
  9. Blau, David M, 1991. "Search for Nonwage Job Characteristics: A Test of the Reservation Wage Hypothesis," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 186-205, April.
  10. Feldstein, Martin & Poterba, James, 1984. "Unemployment insurance and reservation wages," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 141-167.
  11. Gorter, Dirk & Gorter, Cees, 1993. "The Relation between Unemployment Benefits, the Reservation Wage and Search Duration," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 55(2), pages 199-214, May.
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