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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. Wolfgang Franz, 1980. "The Reservation Wage of Unemployed Persons in the Federal Republic of Germany: Theory and Empirical Tests," NBER Working Papers 0578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Feldstein, Martin & Poterba, James, 1984. "Unemployment insurance and reservation wages," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 141-167.
    3. Jones, Stephen R G, 1989. "Reservation Wages and the Cost of Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(222), pages 225-246, May.
    4. Lancaster, Tony & Chesher, Andrew, 1983. "An Econometric Analysis of Reservation Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1661-1676, November.
    5. Stephen R. G. Jones, 1988. "The Relationship Between Unemployment Spells and Reservation Wages as a Test of Search Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(4), pages 741-765.
    6. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
    7. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "The Role of Wage and Skill Differences in US-German Employment Differences," NBER Working Papers 7474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Blau, David M, 1991. "Search for Nonwage Job Characteristics: A Test of the Reservation Wage Hypothesis," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 186-205, April.
    9. Christoph M. Schmidt, 1990. "Testing the Stationary Search Model," Working Papers 646, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pannenberg, Markus, 2007. "Risk Aversion and Reservation Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 2806, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Mário Centeno & Pedro Portugal & John T. Addison, 2004. "Reservation Wages, Search Duration, and Accepted Wages in Europe," Working Papers w200413, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    3. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2008. "Reservation Wages, Expected Wages and Labour Market Outcomes: Analysis of Individual Level Panel Data," Working Papers 2008008, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
    4. Prasanna Tambe & Xuan Ye & Peter Cappelli, 2019. "Paying to Program? Engineering Brand and High-Tech Wages," NBER Working Papers 25552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sarah Brown & Jennifer Roberts & Karl Taylor, 2010. "Reservation wages, labour market participation and health," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 173(3), pages 501-529, July.
    6. Marco Caliendo & Ludovica Gambaro & Peter Haan, 2009. "The impact of income taxation on the ratio between reservation and market wages and the incentives for labour supply," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(9), pages 877-883.
    7. Dawson, Chris, 2017. "The upside of pessimism − Biased beliefs and the paradox of the contented female worker," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 215-228.
    8. Leppin Julian S., 2014. "The Estimation of Reservation Wages: A Simulation-Based Comparison," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(5), pages 603-634, October.
    9. John Addison & Mário Centeno & Pedro Portugal, 2009. "Do Reservation Wages Really Decline? Some International Evidence on the Determinants of Reservation Wages," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 1-8, March.
    10. María A. Davia & Óscar D. Marcenaro-Gutiérrez, 2007. "Exploring the link between employment search time and reservation wages in Southern Europe," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2007/13, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    11. Izabela Ostoj, 2018. "Reasons full-time students of economics in Poland undertake jobs," Managerial Economics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Management, vol. 19(1), pages 117-131.
    12. John T. Addison & José A. F. Machado & Pedro Portugal, 2013. "The Reservation Wage Unemployment Duration Nexus," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(6), pages 980-987, December.
    13. Liina Malk, 2015. "Determinants of reservation wages: empirical evidence for Estonia," Bank of Estonia Working Papers wp2014-8, Bank of Estonia, revised 20 Jan 2015.
    14. Nordlund, Madelende & Strandh, Mattias, 2014. "The relation between economic and non-economic incentives to work and employment chances among the unemployed," Working Paper Series 2014:23, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    15. María Angeles Davia & Oscar D. Marcenaro Gutiérrez, 2008. "Exploring the link between employment search time and reservation," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 186(3), pages 91-121, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    reservation wage; labor supply disincentives; offer wage distribution; unemployment and employment determinants;

    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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