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The Cyclical Behaviour of Employers' Monopsony Power and Workers' Wages

Author

Listed:
  • Hirsch, Boris

    () (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

  • Jahn, Elke J.

    () (University of Bayreuth)

  • Schnabel, Claus

    () (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Abstract

This paper investigates the behaviour of employers' monopsony power and workers' wages over the business cycle. Using German administrative linked employer-employee data for the years 1985-2010 and an estimation framework based on duration models, we construct a time series of the firm-level labour supply elasticity and estimate its relationship to the aggregate unemployment rate. In line with theory, we find that firms possess more monopsony power during economic downturns, which shows to be robust to controlling for time-invariant unobserved worker heterogeneity. We also document that cyclical changes in workers' entry wages are of similar magnitude as those predicted under monopsonistic wage setting, suggesting that monopsony power should not be neglected when analysing wage cyclicality.

Suggested Citation

  • Hirsch, Boris & Jahn, Elke J. & Schnabel, Claus, 2013. "The Cyclical Behaviour of Employers' Monopsony Power and Workers' Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 7776, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7776
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Douglas A. Webber, 2016. "Firm-Level Monopsony and the Gender Pay Gap," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 323-345, April.
    2. Douglas O. Staiger & Joanne Spetz & Ciaran S. Phibbs, 2010. "Is There Monopsony in the Labor Market? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 211-236, April.
    3. Michael R Ransom & Ronald L. Oaxaca, 2010. "New Market Power Models and Sex Differences in Pay," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 267-289, April.
    4. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe‐Agnoli, 2013. "The Expected Impact of State Immigration Legislation on Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(1), pages 34-59, January.
    5. Bernd Fitzenberger & Aderonke Osikominu & Robert Völter, 2006. "Imputation Rules to Improve the Education Variable in the IAB Employment Subsample," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 126(3), pages 405-436.
    6. Herbert Brücker & Elke J. Jahn, 2011. "Migration and Wage‐setting: Reassessing the Labor Market Effects of Migration," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113, pages 286-317, June.
    7. Alison L. Booth & Pamela Katic, 2011. "Estimating the Wage Elasticity of Labour Supply to a Firm: What Evidence is there for Monopsony?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 87(278), pages 359-369, September.
    8. Depew, Briggs & Sørensen, Todd A., 2013. "The elasticity of labor supply to the firm over the business cycle," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 196-204.
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    10. Jahn, Elke & Hirsch, Boris, 2012. "Is there monopsonistic discrimination against immigrants? First evidence from linked employer employee data," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 65417, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Orley C. Ashenfelter & Henry Farber & Michael R Ransom, 2010. "Labor Market Monopsony," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 203-210, April.
    12. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Van Den Berg, 2007. "The unobserved heterogeneity distribution in duration analysis," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 94(1), pages 87-99.
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    15. Barth, Erling & Dale-Olsen, Harald, 2009. "Monopsonistic discrimination, worker turnover, and the gender wage gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 589-597, October.
    16. Boris Hirsch & Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel, 2010. "Differences in Labor Supply to Monopsonistic Firms and the Gender Pay Gap: An Empirical Analysis Using Linked Employer-Employee Data from Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 291-330, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Briggs Depew & Peter Norlander & Todd A. Sørensen, 2017. "Inter-firm mobility and return migration patterns of skilled guest workers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 681-721.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    monopsony power; business cycle; entry wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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