IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/19328.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Making Do With Less: Working Harder During Recessions

Author

Listed:
  • Edward P. Lazear
  • Kathryn L. Shaw
  • Christopher Stanton

Abstract

There are two obvious possibilities that can account for the rise in productivity during recent recessions. The first is that the decline in the workforce was not random, and that the average worker was of higher quality during the recession than in the preceding period. The second is that each worker produced more while holding worker quality constant. We call the second effect, "making do with less," that is, getting more effort from fewer workers. Using data spanning June 2006 to May 2010 on individual worker productivity from a large firm, it is possible to measure the increase in productivity due to effort and sorting. For this firm, the second effect--that workers' effort increases--dominates the first effect--that the composition of the workforce differs over the business cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw & Christopher Stanton, 2013. "Making Do With Less: Working Harder During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 19328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19328 Note: LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19328.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 414-427.
    2. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    3. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-431, July.
    4. Thijs van Rens, 2004. "Organizational capital and employment fluctuations," Economics Working Papers 944, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    5. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
    6. Rebitzer, James B, 1987. "Unemployment, Long-term Employment Relations, and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 627-635, November.
    7. Eric Sims & Michael Jason Pries, 2011. "Reallocation and the Changing Nature of Economic Fluctuations," 2011 Meeting Papers 1258, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    9. David Berger, 2012. "Countercyclical Restructuring and Jobless Recoveries," 2012 Meeting Papers 1179, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Burda, Michael C & Genadek, Katie R. & Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2015. "Not Working At Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 10712, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw & Christopher T. Stanton, 2012. "The Value of Bosses," Discussion Papers 12-001, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    3. John G. Fernald, 2015. "Productivity and Potential Output before, during, and after the Great Recession," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-51.
    4. Thomas Cornelissen & Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2017. "Peer Effects in the Workplace," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 425-456, February.
    5. Burda, Michael C & Genadek, Katie R. & Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2017. "Non-Work at Work, Unemployment and Labor Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 12087, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. McManus, T. Clay & Schaur, Georg, 2016. "The effects of import competition on worker health," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 160-172.
    7. Bellmann, Lutz & Hübler, Olaf, 2014. "Skill Shortages in German Establishments," IZA Discussion Papers 8290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • 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
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19328. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.