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Rent Rigidity, Asymmetric Information, and Volatility Bounds in Labor Markets

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  • Bjoern Bruegemann
  • Giuseppe Moscarini

Abstract

Recent findings have revived interest in the link between real wage rigidity and employment fluctuations, in the context of frictional labor markets. The standard search and matching model fails to generate substantial labor market fluctuations if wages are set by Nash bargaining, while it can generate fluctuations in excess of what is observed if wages are completely rigid. This suggests that less severe rigidity may suffice. We study a weaker notion of real rigidity, which arises only in frictional labor markets, where the wage is the sum of the worker's opportunity cost (the value of unemployment) and a rent. With wage rigidity this sum is acyclical; we consider rent rigidity, where only the rent is acyclical. We offer two contributions. First, we derive upper bounds on labor market volatility that apply if the model of wage determination generates weakly procyclical worker rents, and that are attained by rent rigidity. Quantitatively, the bounds are tight: rent rigidity generates no more than a third of observed volatility, an outcome that is closer to Nash bargaining than to wage rigidity. Second, we show that the bounds apply to a sequence of famous solutions to the bargaining problem under asymmetric information: at best they generate rigid rents but not rigid wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjoern Bruegemann & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2007. "Rent Rigidity, Asymmetric Information, and Volatility Bounds in Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 13030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13030
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Leena Rudanko, 2011. "Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk in a Frictional Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2823-2843, October.
    2. Haefke, Christian & Sonntag, Marcus & van Rens, Thijs, 2013. "Wage rigidity and job creation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 887-899.
    3. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2016. "The Cyclicality of the Opportunity Cost of Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(6), pages 1563-1618.
    4. Camilo Morales-Jimenez, 2017. "The Cyclical Behavior of Unemployment and Wages under Information Frictions," 2017 Meeting Papers 366, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Camilo Morales-Jimenez, 2017. "The Cyclical Behavior of Unemployment and Wages under Information Frictions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-047, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Peter Diamond, 2011. "Unemployment, Vacancies, Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1045-1072, June.
    7. Venky Venkateswaran, 2011. "Heterogeneous Information and Labor Market Fluctuations," 2011 Meeting Papers 1292, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. James Costain & Marcel Jansen, 2010. "Employment Fluctuations with Downward Wage Rigidity: The Role of Moral Hazard," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(4), pages 782-811, December.
    9. Yaniv Yedid-Levi, 2016. "Why does employment in all major sectors move together over the business cycle?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 22, pages 131-156, October.
    10. Coles, Melvyn G & Kelishomi, Ali Moghaddasi, 2011. "New Business Start-ups and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 8588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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