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Limited Commitment Models of the Labour Market

  • Jonathan P Thomas

    ()

    (Economics, University of Edinburgh)

  • Tim Worrall

    ()

    (Economics, Keele University)

We present an overview of models of long-term self-enforcing labour contracts in which risk sharing is the dominant motive for contractual solutions. A base model is developed which is sufficiently general to encompass the two-agent problem central to most of the literature, including variable hours. We consider two-sided limited commitment and look at its implications for aggregate labour market variables. We consider the implications for empirical testing and the available empirical evidence. We also consider the one-sided limited commitment problem for which there exists a considerable amount of empirical support.

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File URL: http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/ec/wpapers/kerp0711.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Research, Keele University in its series Keele Economics Research Papers with number KERP 2007/11.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kee:kerpuk:2007/11
Note: The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Economic and Social Research Council (Research Grant:RES-000-23-0865). We also thank Jim Malcomson, Leena Rudanko and Dongyun Shin for helpful comments on an earlier draft and the participants of the workshop on ``The theory and empirics of risk sharing'' at the Toulouse School of Economics, September 2007. The usual caveats apply.
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Order Information: Postal: Centre for Economic Research, Research Institute for Public Policy and Management, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG - United Kingdom
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  1. Boldrin, Michael & Horvath, Michael, 1995. "Labor Contracts and Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 972-1004, October.
  2. Leena Rudanko, 2006. "Labor Market Dynamics under Long Term Wage Contracting," 2006 Meeting Papers 314, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Krueger, Dirk & Uhlig, Harald, 2004. "Competitive Risk Sharing Contracts with One-Sided Commitment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4208, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2000. "Mutual Insurance, Individual Savings and Limited Commitment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(2), pages 216-246, April.
  5. Haltiwanger, John & Waldman, Michael, 1986. "Insurance and Labor Market Contracting: An Analysis of the Capital Market Assumption," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 355-75, July.
  6. Jonathan P. Thomas & Andy Snell, 2009. "Labor Contracts, Equal Treatment and Wage-Unemployment Dynamics," 2009 Meeting Papers 179, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Darren Grant, 2003. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Surveys," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 393-408, April.
  8. Devereux, Paul J. & Hart, Robert A., 2005. "The Spot Market Matters: Evidence on Implicit Contracts from Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 1497, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Dubois, Pierre & Jullien, Bruno & Magnac, Thierry, 2008. "Formal and Informal Risk Sharing in LDCs: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
  11. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1988. "Self-enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 541-54, October.
  13. Malcomson, J., 1998. "Individual employment contracts," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9804, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  14. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  15. Sigouin, Christian, 2004. "Self-enforcing employment contracts and business cycle fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 339-373, March.
  16. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
  17. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Long Term Employment Contracts," NBER Working Papers 1831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of real wages within employer-employee matches," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
  19. Rosen, Sherwin, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 1144-75, September.
  20. Claudio Michelacci & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2004. "Financial Markets and Wages," 2004 Meeting Papers 116, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Shin, Donggyun & Shin, Kwanho, 2008. "Why Are The Wages Of Job Stayers Procyclical?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(01), pages 1-21, February.
  22. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
  23. Gauthier, Celine & Poitevin, Michel & Gonzalez, Patrick, 1997. "Ex Ante Payments in Self-Enforcing Risk-Sharing Contracts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 106-144, September.
  24. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  25. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  26. Christian Sigouin, 2000. "Self-enforcing Employment Contracts and Business Cycle Fluctuations," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 127, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  27. Christian Calmès, 2007. "Self-Enforcing Labour Contracts and Macroeconomic Dynamics," International Advances in Economic Research, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 13(2), pages 200-213, May.
  28. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1995. "Is the Behavior of Hours Worked Consistent with Implicit Contract Theory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 743-68, August.
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