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

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  • Prasad, Eswar

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

This paper provides new empirical evidence on the relationship between reservation wages of unemployed workers and macroeconomic factors – including aggregate and local unemployment rates, generosity of the unemployment compensation system and characteristics of the wage structure – as well as individual-specific determinants, including proxies for general and specific human capital, length of unemployment spell and alternative income sources. The longitudinal aspect of the dataset (the German Socio-Economic Panel) provides an interesting perspective on how reservation wages change over time and how they correlate with accepted wage offers for workers who make the transition from unemployment to employment. The findings have important policy implications as well, since they shed some light on the disincentive effects of the German tax and transfer system for the labor supply and employment decisions of unemployed workers at different points of the skill/offer wage distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Prasad, Eswar, 2003. "What Determines the Reservation Wages of Unemployed Workers? New Evidence from German Micro Data," IZA Discussion Papers 694, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp694
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    8. 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    reservation wage; labor supply disincentives; offer wage distribution; unemployment and employment determinants;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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