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Secular Labor Reallocation and Business Cycles

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  • Gabriel Chodorow-Reich
  • Johannes Wieland

Abstract

We study the effect of mean-preserving labor reallocation on business cycle outcomes. We develop an empirical methodology using a local area's exposure to industry reallocation based on the area's initial industry composition and employment trends in the rest of the country over a full employment cycle. Using confidential employment data by local area and industry over the period 1980-2014, we find sharp evidence of reallocation contributing to worse employment outcomes during national recessions but not during national expansions. We repeat our empirical exercise in a multi-area, multi-sector search and matching model of the labor market. The model reproduces the empirical results subject to inclusion of two key, empirically plausible frictions: imperfect mobility across industries, and downward nominal wage rigidity. Combining the empirical and model results, we conclude that reallocation can generate substantial amplification and persistence of business cycles at both the local and the aggregate level.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Johannes Wieland, 2016. "Secular Labor Reallocation and Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 21864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21864
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    1. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer‐Wohl, 2017. "Understanding The Long‐Run Decline In Interstate Migration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 57-94, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Di Maggio & Amir Kermani, 2016. "The Importance of Unemployment Insurance as an Automatic Stabilizer," NBER Working Papers 22625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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