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The Supply of Skills in the Labor Force and Aggregate Output Volatility

  • Steven Lugauer

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame)

The cyclical volatility of U.S. gross domestic product suddenly declined during the early 1980s and remained low for over 20 years. I develop a labor search model with worker heterogeneity and match-specific costs to show how an increase in the supply of high-skill workers can contribute to a decrease in aggregate output volatility. In the model, firms react to changes in the distribution of skills by creating jobs designed specifically for high-skill workers. The new worker-firm matches are more profitable and less likely to break apart due to productivity shocks. Aggregate output volatility falls because the labor market stabilizes on the extensive margin. In a simple calibration exercise, the labor market based mechanism generates a substantial portion of the observed changes in output volatility.

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File URL: http://www3.nd.edu/~tjohns20/RePEc/deendus/wpaper/005_skills.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 005.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision: Jun 2012
Handle: RePEc:nod:wpaper:005
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  1. Robert Shimer, 1999. "The Impact of Young Workers on the Aggregate Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Steven Lugauer & Nelson C. Mark & Chadwick R. Curtis, 2011. "Demographic Patterns and Household Saving in China," 2011 Meeting Papers 529, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1259-1278, December.
  4. Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu, 2008. "The Young, the Old, and the Restless: Demographics and Business Cycle Volatility," NBER Working Papers 14063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Fujita, Shigeru, 2011. "Declining labor turnover and turbulence," Working Papers 11-44, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Coen-Pirani, Daniele & León, Alexis & Lugauer, Steven, 2010. "The effect of household appliances on female labor force participation: Evidence from microdata," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 503-513, June.
  7. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 19 pages.
  9. CASTRO, Rui & COEN-PIRANI, Daniele, 2005. "Why Have Aggregate Skilled Hours Become so Cyclical since the Mid-1980’s?," Cahiers de recherche 24-2005, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  10. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  11. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  12. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  13. Cazzavillan, Guido & Olszewski, Krzysztof, 2011. "Skill-biased technological change, endogenous labor supply and growth: A model and calibration to Poland and the US," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 124-136, June.
  14. Steven J. Davis & James A. Kahn, 2008. "Interpreting the Great Moderation: Changes in the Volatility of Economic Activity at the Macro and Micro Levels," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 155-80, Fall.
  15. Diego A. Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2006. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 167-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. James Feyrer, 2007. "Demographics and Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 100-109, February.
  17. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  18. Lugauer, Steven & Redmond, Michael, 2012. "The age distribution and business cycle volatility: International evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 694-696.
  19. Steven Lugauer & Richard Jensen & Clayton Sadler, 2014. "An Estimate Of The Age Distribution'S Effect On Carbon Dioxide Emissions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 914-929, 04.
  20. Lugauer, Steven, 2012. "Demographic Change And The Great Moderation In An Overlapping Generations Model With Matching Frictions," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(05), pages 706-731, November.
  21. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  22. Steven Lugauer, 2012. "Estimating the Effect of the Age Distribution on Cyclical Output Volatility Across the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 896-902, November.
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