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Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle

  • Alan Krueger
  • Jorn-Steffen Pischke

This paper has three goals; first, to place U.S. job growth in international perspective by exploring cross-country differences in employment and population growth. This section finds that the U.S. has managed to absorb added workers -- especially female workers -- into employment at a greater rate than most countries. The leading explanation for this phenomenon is that the U.S. labor market has flexible wages and employment practices, whereas European labor markets are rigid. The second goal of the paper is to evaluate the labor market rigidities hypothesis. Although greater wage flexibility probably contributes to the U.S.'s comparative success in creating jobs for its population, the slow growth in employment in many European countries appears too uniform across skill groups to result from relative wage inflexibility alone. Furthermore, a great deal of labor market adjustment seems to take place at a constant real wage in the U.S. This leads to the third goal: to speculate on other explanations why the U.S. has managed to successfully absorb so many new entrants to the labor market. We conjecture that product market constraints contribute to the slow growth of employment in many countries.

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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 769.

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Date of creation: Aug 1997
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp01d217qp51c
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  4. Phillip Levine, 1991. "Spillover Effects Between the Insured and Uninsured Unemployed," Working Papers 663, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  9. David Card & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux, 1999. "Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 843-877, August.
  10. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1981. "Time-Series Evidence of the Effect of the Minimum Wage on Youth Employment and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 0790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
  13. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  14. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726.
  15. Solon, Gary R, 1985. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 295-306, March.
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  17. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
  18. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1997. "Gender and Youth Employment Outcomes: The US and West Germany, 1984-91," NBER Working Papers 6078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Jennifer Hunt, 1992. "The impact of the 1962 repatriates from Algeria on the French labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(3), pages 556-572, April.
  20. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1995. "The Collapse in Demand for the Unskilled and Unemployment across the OECD," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 40-62, Spring.
  21. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
  22. Jennifer Hunt, 1992. "The Impact of the 1962 Repatriates from Algeria on the French Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(3), pages 556-572, April.
  23. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
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  25. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
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