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Employment Fluctuations with Downward Wage Rigidity: The Role of Moral Hazard

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Listed:
  • Costain, James

    (Bank of Spain)

  • Jansen, Marcel

    (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Abstract

This paper studies the cyclical dynamics of Mortensen and Pissarides' (1994) model of job creation and destruction when workers' effort is not perfectly observable, as in Shapiro and Stiglitz (1984). An occasionally-binding no-shirking constraint truncates the real wage distribution from below, making firms' share of surplus weakly procyclical, and may thus amplify fluctuations in hiring. It may also cause a burst of inefficient firing at the onset of a recession, separating matches that no longer have sufficient surplus for incentive compatibility. On the other hand, since marginal workers in booms know firms cannot commit to keep them in recessions, they place little value on their jobs and are expensive to motivate. For a realistic calibration, this last effect is by far the strongest; even a moderate degree of moral hazard can eliminate all fluctuation in the separation rate. This casts doubt on Ramey and Watson's (1997) "contractual fragility" mechanism, and means worker moral hazard only makes the "unemployment volatility puzzle" worse. However, moral hazard has potential to explain other labor market facts, because it is consistent with small but clearly countercyclical fluctuations in separation rates, and a robust Beveridge curve.

Suggested Citation

  • Costain, James & Jansen, Marcel, 2009. "Employment Fluctuations with Downward Wage Rigidity: The Role of Moral Hazard," IZA Discussion Papers 4344, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4344
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    Cited by:

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    2. Martin, Christopher & Wang, Bingsong, 2020. "Search, shirking and labor market volatility," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    3. Katarzyna Budnik, 2012. "Do those who stay work less? On the impact of emigration on the measured TFP in Poland," NBP Working Papers 113, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    4. Julien Champagne, 2015. "The Carrot and the Stick: The Business Cycle Implications of Incentive Pay in the Labor Search Model," Staff Working Papers 15-35, Bank of Canada.
    5. Fahr, Stephan & Abbritti, Mirko, 2011. "Macroeconomic implications of downward wage rigidities," Working Paper Series 1321, European Central Bank.
    6. Norikazu Tawara, 2008. "No-shirking Conditions in Frictional Labor Markets," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(1), pages 1-10.
    7. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2014. "Reference Dependence and Labor Market Fluctuations," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 159-200.
    8. Kangwoo Park, 2007. "Labor-Market Implications of Contracts under Moral Hazard," 2007 Meeting Papers 277, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Lunardelli, Andre, 2014. "Fairness and the disinflation puzzle," Economics Discussion Papers 2014-32, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    10. Rogerson, Richard & Shimer, Robert, 2011. "Search in Macroeconomic Models of the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 7, pages Pages: 61, Elsevier.
    11. Pei Kuang & Tong Wang, 2017. "Labor Market Dynamics With Search Frictions And Fair Wage Considerations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(3), pages 1336-1349, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    endogenous separation; efficiency wages; shirking; job matching; contractual fragility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • 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
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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