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Dual Labour Markets and Menu Costs: Explaining the Cyclicality of Productivity and Wage Differentials

  • Huw David Dixon
  • Claus Thustrup Hansen
  • Henrik J. Kleven

The conventional menu cost framework performs poorly with realistic labour supply elasticities; the menu costs required for price rigidity are very high and the welfare consequences of monetary disturbances are negligible. We show that the presence of dual labour markets greatly improves the performance of the framework both by reducing menu cost requirements and by boosting the welfare consequences. In addition, the introduction of dual labour markets provides an explanation of procyclical productivity and the shrinking of wage differentials during booms, in line with stylized facts on business cycles.

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Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 99-13.

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Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:99-13
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  1. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 2005. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," Macroeconomics 0505012, EconWPA.
  2. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1987. "Real Rigidities and the Non-Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-38, May.
  4. Rotemberg, Julio J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1990. "Inflexible Prices and Procyclical Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 851-74, November.
  5. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1987. "Sticky Prices as Coordination Failure," NBER Working Papers 2327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  7. Laurence M. Ball & David Romer, 1987. "Are Prices Too Sticky?," NBER Working Papers 2171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Huw David Dixon & Claus Thustrup Hansen, 1997. "A Mixed Industrial Structure Magnifies the Importance of Menu Costs," Discussion Papers 97-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  9. Jeremy I. Bulow & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination and Keynesian Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. d'Aspremont, Claude & Dos Santos Ferreira, Rodolphe & Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1996. "On the Dixit-Stiglitz Model of Monopolistic Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 623-29, June.
  11. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  12. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "A Near-rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Intertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 823-38, Supp..
  13. Mellow, Wesley S, 1981. "Unionism and Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 43-52, February.
  14. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
  15. Susanto Basu, 1994. "Intermediate Goods and Business Cycles: Implications for Productivity and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 4817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Dickens, William T & Lang, Kevin, 1985. "A Test of Dual Labor Market Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 792-805, September.
  17. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  18. Wunnava, Phanindra V. & Honney, John K., 1991. "The union-nonunion wage differential over the business cycle : Evidence from PSID," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 97-103, September.
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