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

Author

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  • 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4344
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2008:i:1:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Norikazu Tawara, 2008. "No-shirking Conditions in Frictional Labor Markets," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(1), pages 1-10.
    5. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2014. "Reference Dependence and Labor Market Fluctuations," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 159-200.
    6. Fahr, Stephan & Abbritti, Mirko, 2011. "Macroeconomic implications of downward wage rigidities," Working Paper Series 1321, European Central Bank.
    7. Lunardelli, Andre, 2014. "Fairness and the disinflation puzzle," Economics Discussion Papers 2014-32, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    8. Rogerson, Richard & Shimer, Robert, 2011. "Search in Macroeconomic Models of the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    9. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:1336-1349 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    endogenous separation; efficiency wages; shirking; job matching; contractual fragility;

    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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