IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Quantity and Elasticity Spillovers onto the Labor Market: Theory and Evidence on Sluggishness

Listed author(s):
  • Allan Drazen
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Norman P. Obst

Firms' beliefs that they may be unable to sell as much as they would like at the market price leads not only to a quantity spillover (even when prices are flexible) but also to a spillover of product demand elasticity onto the elasticity of labor demand. Hence, optimal firm behavior can be expected to produce a negative correlation between the (absolute value of) the wage elasticity and the unemployment rate. This hypothesis is tested on three sets of data. 1) For low-skilled workers in the United States in 1969 there is weak support for this hypothesis; 2) In time-series data for the U.S. there is no evidence for the hypothesis (there is essentially no cyclical variability in the elasticity); and 3) In time-series data for the United Kingdom there is fairly strong evidence supporting it. We also find that, in both the U.S. and the U.K., the demand elasticity for labor decreased in the 1970s to an extent that does not appear to be explained by changes in other factor prices.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0676.

in new window

Date of creation: May 1981
Publication status: published as Drazen, Allan, Daniel S. Hamermesh, and Norman P. Obst. "The Variable Employment Elasticity Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence." Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 6 , (1984), pp. 287-309.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0676
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Solow, Robert M, 1980. "On Theories of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 1-11, March.
  2. John M. Abowd & Orley C. Ashenfelter, 1981. "Anticipated Unemployment, Temporary Layoffs, and Compensating Wage Differentials," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 141-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Patrick Yeung, 1972. "A Note on the Rules of Derived Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(3), pages 511-517.
  4. Robert W. Crandall & C. Duncan Macrae & Lorene Y. L. Yap, 1975. "An Econometric Model of the Low-Skill Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 10(1), pages 3-24.
  5. Drazen, Allan, 1980. "Recent Developments in Macroeconomic Disequilibrium Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 283-306, March.
  6. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1995. "Labour Demand and the," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 620-634, May.
  7. Tinsley, P A, 1971. "A Variable Adjustment Model of Labor Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 12(3), pages 482-510, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0676. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.