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How Much Is Employment Increased by Cutting Labor Costs? Estimating the Elasticity of Job Creation

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Beaudry
  • David A. Green
  • Benjamin M. Sand

Abstract

In search and bargaining models, the effect of higher wages on employment is determined by the elasticity of the job creation curve. In this paper, we use U.S. data over the 1970-2007 period to explore whether labor market outcomes abide by the restrictions implied by such models and to evaluate the elasticity of the job creation curve. The main difference between a job creation curve and a standard demand curve is that the former represents a relationship between wages and employment rates, while the latter represents a relationship between wages and employment levels. Although this distinction is quite simple, it has substantive implications for the identification of the effect of higher wages on employment. The main finding of the paper is that U.S. labor market outcomes observed at the city-industry level appear to conform well to the restrictions implied by search and bargaining theory and, using 10-year differences, we estimate the elasticity of the job creation curve with respect to wages to be -0.3. We interpret this relatively low elasticity as reflecting a low propensity for individuals to become more entrepreneurial and create more jobs when labor costs are lower and variable profits are higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Beaudry & David A. Green & Benjamin M. Sand, 2010. "How Much Is Employment Increased by Cutting Labor Costs? Estimating the Elasticity of Job Creation," NBER Working Papers 15790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15790
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15790.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Labor supply and personal computer adoption," Working Paper Series 2006-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, January.
    3. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1993. "Labor Demand and the Source of Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 4394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacquet, Laurence & Lehmann, Etienne & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2011. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation with Both Labor Supply and Labor Demand Responses," IZA Discussion Papers 5642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann & Bruno Linden, 2014. "Optimal income taxation with Kalai wage bargaining and endogenous participation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(2), pages 381-402, February.

    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
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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