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Labor Demand: What Do We Know? What Don't We Know?

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

This study reviews empirical research on the demand for labor. The static analysis discusses the production parameters describing homogeneous labor and labor disaggregated along various criteria; the distinction between workers and hours; the importance of job dynamics; and the nature of a variety of policies that affect the long-run demand for labor. Issues in the dynamics of demand for workers and hours, including speeds of adjustment for homogeneous and heterogeneous labor, asymmetries, and the nature of adjustment costs are presented. The paper emphasizes how the paucity of appropriate data has limited our ability to obtain reliable estimates of the underlying concepts.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3890.

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Date of creation: Nov 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "Labor Demand: Status & Prospects" in E.K. Grant et al, eds., Aspects of Labor Market Behavior, University of Toronto Press, 1995.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3890
Note: LS
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  1. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
  2. Abraham, Katharine G. & Houseman, Susan N., 1989. "Job security and work force adjustment: How different are U.S. and Japanese practices?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 500-521, December.
  3. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," Working Papers 633, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Leslie E. Papke, 1989. "Interstate Business Tax Differentials and New Firm Location: Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 3184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Santiago, Carlos E, 1989. "The Dynamics of Minimum Wage Policy in Economic Development: A Multiple Time-Series Approach," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-30, October.
  6. Field, Elizabeth B, 1988. "Free and Slave Labor in the Antebellum South: Perfect Substitutes or Different Inputs?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(4), pages 654-59, November.
  7. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," NBER Working Papers 1899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stephen Nickell, 1979. "Unemployment and the Structure of Labour Costs," Working Papers 498, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Berger, Mark C. & Garen, John E., 1990. "Heterogeneous producers in an extractive industry : Factor demand in underground coal mining," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 295-310, December.
  10. Berndt, Ernst R & Wood, David O, 1975. "Technology, Prices, and the Derived Demand for Energy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(3), pages 259-68, August.
  11. Alison J. Wellington, 1991. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on the Employment Status of Youths: An Update," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 27-46.
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