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Wages, Implicit Contracts, and the Business Cycle: Evidence from a European Panel

  • BELLOU Andriana
  • KAYMAK Baris

This paper examines the cyclical behavior of hours and wages in a unique panel of 11 European countries, and documents signi?cant history dependence in wages. Workers who experience favorable market conditions during their tenure on the job, have higher wages, and work fewer labor hours. Unobserved differences in productivity, such as varying job quality, or match-speci?c productivity are not likely to explain this variation. The results instead point to the importance of contractual arrangements in wage determination. In economies with decentralized bargaining practices, such arrangements resemble self-enforcing insurance contracts with onesided commitment (by the employer). On the other hand, in countries with strong unions and centralized wage bargaining, wage behavior is better approximated by full-commitment insurance contracts.

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Paper provided by CEPS/INSTEAD in its series CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series with number 2011-13.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-13
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  1. Devereux, Paul J. & Hart, Robert A., 2005. "The Spot Market Matters: Evidence on Implicit Contracts from Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 1497, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Mark Gertler & Antonella Trigari, 2009. "Unemployment Fluctuations with Staggered Nash Wage Bargaining," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(1), pages 38-86, 02.
  3. van Soest, A.H.O. & Woittiez, I.B. & Kapteyn, A.J., 1989. "Labour supply, income taxes and hours restrictions in the Netherlands," Discussion Paper 1989-3, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Long Term Employment Contracts," NBER Working Papers 1831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1988. "Self-enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 541-54, October.
  8. Christopher Pissarides, 2007. "The unemployment volatility puzzle: is wage stickiness the answer?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4460, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Rosen, Sherwin, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 1144-75, September.
  10. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas & Symons, Elizabeth & Walker, Ian, 1988. "Labour supply specification and the evaluation of tax reforms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 23-52, June.
  11. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. James Ted McDonald & Christopher Worswick, 1999. "Wages, Implicit Contracts, and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Canadian Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 884-913, August.
  13. 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.
  14. Arthur M. Okun, 1973. "Upward Mobility in a High-Pressure Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 207-262.
  15. Marianna Kudlyak, 2010. "The cyclical price of labor when wages are smoothed," Working Paper 10-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  16. Kilponen, Juha & Santavirta, Torsten, 2010. "New evidence on implicit contracts from linked employer-employee data," Research Discussion Papers 12/2010, Bank of Finland.
  17. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  18. Kapteyn, A. & Soest, A.V. & Woittiez, I., 1989. "Labour Supply, Income Taxes And Hours Restrictions In The Netherlands," Papers 8903, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  19. Lars Vilhuber, 1996. "Wage Flexibility and Contract Structure in Germany," CIRANO Working Papers 96s-28, CIRANO.
  20. Bellou, Andriana & Kaymak, Baris, 2011. "Real wage growth over the business cycle:contractual versus spot markets," MPRA Paper 30401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Bowlus, Audra J, 1995. "Matching Workers and Jobs: Cyclical Fluctuations in Match Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 335-50, April.
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  24. Blundell, Richard & Walker, Ian, 1986. "A Life-Cycle Consistent Empirical Model of Family Labour Supply Using Cross-Section Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 539-58, August.
  25. Darren Grant, 2003. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Surveys," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 393-408, April.
  26. Hogan, Chad, 2001. "Enforcement of Implicit Employment Contracts through Unionization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 171-95, January.
  27. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1995. "Is the Behavior of Hours Worked Consistent with Implicit Contract Theory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 743-68, August.
  28. David A. Green & James Townsend, 2009. "Understanding the wage patterns of Canadian less skilled workers: the role of implicit contracts," IFS Working Papers W09/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  29. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-364378 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
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