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Real Wages and the Business Cycle: Accounting for Worker and Firm Heterogeneity

  • Carneiro, Anabela

    ()

    (University of Porto)

  • Guimaraes, Paulo

    ()

    (Banco de Portugal)

  • Portugal, Pedro

    ()

    (Banco de Portugal)

Using a longitudinal matched employer-employee data set for Portugal over the 1986-2005 period, this study analyzes the heterogeneity in wages responses to aggregate labor market conditions for newly hired workers and existing workers. Accounting for both worker and firm heterogeneity, the data support the hypothesis that entry wages are much more procyclical than current wages. A one-point increase in the unemployment rate decreases wages of newly hired male workers by around 2.8% and by just 1.4% for workers in continuing jobs. Since we estimate the fixed effects, we were able to show that unobserved heterogeneity plays a non-trivial role in the cyclicality of wages. In particular, worker fixed effects of new hires and separating workers behave countercyclically, whereas firm fixed effects exhibit a procyclical pattern. Finally, the results reveal, for all workers, a wage-productivity elasticity of 1.2, slightly above the one-for-one response predicted by the Mortensen-Pissarides model.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4174.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Real Wages and the Business Cycle: Accounting for Worker, Firm and Job-Title Heterogeneity' in American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 2012, 4(2)
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4174
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  1. A Brandolini, 1993. "In Search of a Stylised Fact: Do Real Wages Exhibit a Consistent Pattern of Cyclical Variability?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0112, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  3. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0839, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Pedro S. Martins, 2007. "Heterogeneity In Real Wage Cyclicality," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(5), pages 684-698, November.
  5. Paulo Guimarães & Pedro Portugal, 2009. "A Simple Feasible Alternative Procedure to Estimate Models with High-Dimensional Fixed Effects," Working Papers w200909, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  6. Olivier Blanchard, 2007. "Adjustment within the euro. The difficult case of Portugal," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 1-21, April.
  7. 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.
  8. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  9. Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of real wages within employer-employee matches," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
  10. 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.
  11. Devereux, Paul J. & Hart, Robert A., 2005. "Real Wage Cyclicality of Job Stayers, Within-Company Job Movers, and Between-Company Job Movers," IZA Discussion Papers 1651, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  13. Katharine G. Abraham & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1215-1264, September.
  14. Hart, Robert A., 2003. "Worker-Job Matches, Job Mobility, and Real Wage Cyclicality," IZA Discussion Papers 881, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Barlevy, Gadi, 2001. "Why Are the Wages of Job Changers So Procyclical?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 837-78, October.
  16. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
  17. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
  18. Christian Haefke & Marcus Sonntag & Thijs van Rens, 2006. "Wage Rigidity and Job Creation," 2006 Meeting Papers 773, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. 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.
  20. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert & Runkle, David, 1988. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Estimating the Impact of Heterogeneity with Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1232-66, December.
  21. Robert E. Hall, 2003. "Modern Theory of Unemployment Fluctuations: Empirics and Policy Applications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 145-150, May.
  22. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
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