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The Demand for Youth: Implications for the Hours Volatility Puzzle

  • Nir Jaimovich
  • Seth Pruitt
  • Henry E. Siu

The employment and hours worked of young individuals fluctuate much more over the business cycle than those of prime-aged individuals. Understanding the mechanism underlying this observation is key to explaining the volatility of aggregate hours over the cycle. We argue that the joint behavior of age-specific hours and wages in the U.S. data point to differences in the cyclical characteristics of labor demand. To articulate this view, we consider a production technology displaying capital-experience complementarity. We estimate the key parameters governing the degree of complementarity and show that the model can account for the behavior of age-specific hours and wages while generating a series of aggregate hours that is nearly as volatile as output.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14697.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14697.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Publication status: published as The Demand for Youth: Explaining Age Differences in the Volatility of Hours, American Economic Review, December 2013, vol. 103, issue 7, 3022-3044 (with Henry Siu and Seth Pruitt).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14697
Note: EFG
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  8. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2003. "Wages and Employment in the United States and Germany: What Explains the Differences?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 573-602, June.
  9. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  14. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1980. "Demographic Differences in Cyclical Employment Variation," NBER Working Papers 0514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gary D. Hansen & Selo Imrohoroglu, 2007. "Business Cycle Fluctuations and the Life Cycle: How Important is On-The-Job Skill Accumulation?," NBER Working Papers 13603, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1993. "Cyclical movements of the labor input and its implicit real wage," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q II, pages 12-23.
  17. Cragg, John G. & Donald, Stephen G., 1993. "Testing Identifiability and Specification in Instrumental Variable Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 222-240, April.
  18. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
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