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Employment Efficiency and Sticky Wages: Evidence from Flows in the Labor Market

  • Robert E. Hall

I consider three views of the labor market. In the first, wages are flexible and employment follows the principle of bilateral efficiency. Workers never lose their jobs because of sticky wages. In the second view, wages are sticky and inefficient layoffs do occur. In the third, wages are also sticky, but employment governance is efficient. I show that the behavior of flows in the labor market strongly favors the third view. In the modern U.S. economy, recessions do not begin with a burst of layoffs. Unemployment rises because jobs are hard to find, not because an unusual number of people are thrown into unemployment.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11183.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11183.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Publication status: published as Hall, Robert E. “Employment Efficiency and Sticky Wages: Evidence from Flows in the Labor Market.” Review of Economics and Statistics 87, 3 (August 2005): 397-407.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11183
Note: EFG LS PR
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  1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
  2. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-79, December.
  3. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  4. Bruce C. Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2001. "The importance of employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
  6. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Short-run Equilibrium Dynamics of Unemployment Vacancies, and Real Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 676-90, September.
  7. Cole, Harold L & Rogerson, Richard, 1999. "Can the Mortensen-Pissarides Matching Model Match the Business-Cycle Facts?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 933-59, November.
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