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Allocative and Remitted Wages: New Facts and Challenges for Keynesian Models

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  • Susanto Basu
  • Christopher L. House

Abstract

Modern monetary business-cycle models rely heavily on price and wage rigidity. While there is substantial evidence that prices do not adjust frequently, there is much less evidence on whether wage rigidity is an important feature of real world labor markets. While real average hourly earnings are not particularly cyclical, and do not react significantly to monetary policy shocks, systematic changes in the composition of employed workers and implicit contracts within employment arrangements make it difficult to draw strong conclusions about the importance of wage rigidity. We augment a workhorse monetary DSGE model by allowing for endogenous changes in the composition of workers and also by explicitly allowing for a difference between allocative wages and remitted wages. Using both individual-level and aggregate data, we study and extend the available evidence on the cyclicality of wages and we pay particular attention to the response of wages to identified monetary policy shocks. Our analysis suggests several broad conclusions: (i) in the data, composition bias plays a modest but noticeable role in cyclical compensation patterns; (ii) empirically, both the wages for newly hired workers and the "user cost of labor" respond strongly to identified monetary policy innovations; (iii) a model with implicit contracts between workers and firms and a flexible allocative wage replicates these patterns well. We conclude that price rigidity likely plays a substantially more important role than wage rigidity in governing economic fluctuations.

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  • Susanto Basu & Christopher L. House, 2016. "Allocative and Remitted Wages: New Facts and Challenges for Keynesian Models," NBER Working Papers 22279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22279
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    Cited by:

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    2. Yashiv, Eran, 2016. "Aggregate Hiring and the Value of Jobs Along the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 11076, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2022. "How Sticky Wages in Existing Jobs Can Affect Hiring," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 1-37, January.
    4. Cynthia L. Doniger, 2019. "Do Greasy Wheels Curb Inequality?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-021, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Cristiano Cantore & Filippo Ferroni & Miguel León-Ledesma, 2021. "The Missing Link: Monetary Policy and The Labor Share," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 1592-1620.
    6. Marco Guerrazzi & Pier Giuseppe Giribone, 2022. "The dynamics of working hours and wages under implicit contracts," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(4), pages 1075-1094, October.
    7. Bauer, Anja & Lochner, Benjamin, 2020. "History dependence in wages and cyclical selection: Evidence from Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    8. Patrick Kehoe & Elena Pastorino & Pierlauro Lopez & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2018. "Asset Prices and Unemployment Fluctuations," 2018 Meeting Papers 1119, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Benjamin Born & Johannes Pfeifer, 2021. "Uncertainty‐driven business cycles: Assessing the markup channel," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(2), pages 587-623, May.
    10. Kevin x.d. Huang & Munechika Katayama & Mototsugu Shintani & Takayuki Tsuruga, 2017. "Sticky-Wage Models and Knowledge Capital: A Note," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 17-00006, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    11. Robert E. Hall, 2017. "High Discounts and High Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 305-330, February.
    12. Mario Giarda, 2021. "The Labor Earnings Gap, Heterogeneous Wage Phillips Curves, and Monetary Policy," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 934, Central Bank of Chile.
    13. Cynthia L. Doniger, 2021. "What Can We Learn from Asynchronous Wage Changes?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2021-055r1, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 31 Mar 2022.
    14. Yashiv, Eran, 2016. "Aggregate hiring and the value of jobs along the business cycle," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86175, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Cynthia L. Doniger, 2021. "The Ways the Cookie Crumbles: Education and the Margins of Cyclical Adjustment in the Labor Market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2021-019, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    16. Phaneuf, Louis & Sims, Eric & Victor, Jean Gardy, 2018. "Inflation, output and markup dynamics with purely forward-looking wage and price setters," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 115-134.
    17. Kilman, Josefin, 2020. "Monetary Policy and Income Inequality in the United States: The Role of Labor Unions," Working Papers 2020:10, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 20 Sep 2022.
    18. Andrew Snell & Heiko Stuber & Jonathan Thomas, 2018. "Downward Real Wage Rigidity and Equal Treatment Wage Contracts: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 30, pages 265-284, October.
    19. Ryan Chahrour & Sanjay Chugh & Tristan Potter, 2020. "Anticipated Productivity and the Labor Market," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 992, Boston College Department of Economics.

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    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
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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