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Data Difficulties in Labor Economics

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

This essay sets out a framework for evaluating empirical work in terms of the ability of the data to provide adequate parameter estimates and hypothesis tests about the true underlying structure. Problems of aggregation, representativeness and structural change are discussed in detail. These criteria are applied to evaluate studies of labor supply, labor demand, local labor markets and union goals. Empirical work in labor supply has made the greatest strides because of the appropriateness of the data to answer questions of interest. Studies in the other areas have not made so much progress and will not until the same resources are devoted to collecting longitudinal microeconomic data on firms as have been spent on collecting longitudinal household data.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2622.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2622.

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Date of creation: Jun 1988
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Publication status: published as "Fifty Years of Economic Measurement: The Jubilee of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth," Studies in Income and Wealth, Vol. 54, eds. E. Berndt and J. Triplett, pp. 273-295. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2622
Note: LS
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  1. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Estimation of Dynamic Labor Demand Schedules under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1009-44, December.
  2. Dertouzos, James N & Pencavel, John H, 1981. "Wage and Employment Determination under Trade Unionism: The International Typographical Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1162-81, December.
  3. Allen, Steven G, 1986. "Union Work Rules and Efficiency in the Building Trades," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 212-42, April.
  4. Grant, James H & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1981. "Labor Market Competition among Youths, White Women and Others," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 354-60, August.
  5. Nickell, Stephen, 1979. "Unemployment and the structure of labor costs," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 187-222, January.
  6. Alan Carruth & Andrew Oswald, 1984. "Miners' Wages in Post-War Britain: An Application of a Model of Trade Union Behavior," Working Papers 558, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Osberg, Lars & Apostle, Richard & Clairmont, Don, 1986. "The Incidence and Duration of Individual Unemployment: Supply Side o r Demand Side?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 13-33, March.
  8. Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "Informal Job Search and Black Youth Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "Plant Turnover and Gross Employment Flows in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 48-71, January.
  10. McElroy, Marjorie B, 1987. "Additive General Error Models for Production, Cost, and Derived Demand or Share Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 737-57, August.
  11. John H. Pencavel, 1984. "The Tradeoff Between Wages and Employment in Trade Union Objectives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(2), pages 215-231.
  12. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  13. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Demographic Determinants of the Demand for Black Labor," NBER Chapters, in: The Black Youth Employment Crisis, pages 191-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Abraham, Katharine G & Farber, Henry S, 1987. "Job Duration, Seniority, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 278-97, June.
  15. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  16. Nadiri, M Ishaq & Rosen, Sherwin, 1969. "Interrelated Factor Demand Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(4), pages 457-71, Part I Se.
  17. Eberts, Randall W & Stone, Joe A, 1986. "On the Contract Curve: A Test of Alternative Models of Collective Bargaining," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(1), pages 66-81, January.
  18. Grossman, Jean Baldwin, 1982. "The Substitutability of Natives and Immigrants in Production," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 596-603, November.
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