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Does Labor Supply Matter During a Recession? Evidence from the Seasonal Cycle


  • Casey B. Mulligan


Every year has large demand and supply shifts associated with the seasons, regardless of the phase of the business cycle. Based on measures dating back to the 1940s, the seasonal shifts reject the hypotheses that demand shifts affect employment outcomes significantly more in recession years than in non-recession years, and that supply shifts matter significantly less (if at all) in the recession years. My results are consistent with the hypothesis that recessions are characterized by labor market distortions that are neither alleviated by additional labor demand nor exacerbated by additional labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Casey B. Mulligan, 2010. "Does Labor Supply Matter During a Recession? Evidence from the Seasonal Cycle," NBER Working Papers 16357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16357
    Note: EFG LS

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    1. repec:nbr:nberch:13342 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Matas-Mir, Antonio & Osborn, Denise R., 2004. "Does seasonality change over the business cycle? An investigation using monthly industrial production series," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1309-1332, December.
    3. Jeffrey A. Miron, 1996. "The Economics of Seasonal Cycles," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262133237, January.
    4. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
    5. Mulligan Casey B, 2011. "Simple Analytics and Empirics of the Government Spending Multiplier and Other "Keynesian" Paradoxes," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, June.
    6. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2010. "The paradox of toil," Staff Reports 433, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Barsky, Robert B & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1989. "The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 503-534, June.
    8. Michael Woodford, 2011. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
    9. Robert J. Barro & Charles J. Redlick, 2011. "Macroeconomic Effects From Government Purchases and Taxes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 51-102.
    10. Krane, Spencer & Wascher, William, 1999. "The cyclical sensitivity of seasonality in U.S. employment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 523-553, December.
    11. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2010. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes versus Spending," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 35-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Casey B. Mulligan, 2009. "Means-Tested Mortgage Modification: Homes Saved or Income Destroyed?," NBER Working Papers 15281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Patricia M. Anderson & Simon M. Burgess, 2000. "Empirical Matching Functions: Estimation and Interpretation Using State-Level Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 93-102, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mulligan Casey B, 2011. "Simple Analytics and Empirics of the Government Spending Multiplier and Other "Keynesian" Paradoxes," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, June.
    2. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow & Benjamin A. Malin, 2013. "Testing for Keynesian Labor Demand," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 311-349.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • 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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