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Labor Contracts, Equal Treatment and Wage-Unemployment Dynamics

  • Jonathan P. Thomas

    (University of Edinburgh)

  • Andy Snell

    (University of Edinburgh)

This paper analyses a model in which firms cannot pay discriminate based on year of entry to a firm, and develops an equilibrium model of wage dynamics and unemployment. The model is developed under the assumption of worker mobility, so that workers can costlessly quit jobs at any time. Firms on the other hand are committed to contracts. Thus the model is related to Beaudry and DiNardo (1991). We solve for the dynamics of wages and unemployment, and show that real wages do not necessarily clear the labor market. Using sectoral productivity data from the post-war US economy, we assess the ability of the model to match unemployment series. We also show that equal treatment follows in our model from the assumption of at-will employment contracting.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2009 Meeting Papers with number 179.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed009:179
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Truman F. Bewley, 1999. "Work Motivation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1209, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1999. "Survey evidence on wage rigidity and unemployment: Sweden in the 1990s," Working Paper Series 1999:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. Lorne Carmichael, 1983. "Firm-Specific Human Capital and Promotion Ladders," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 251-258, Spring.
  4. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1983. "Equilibrium Long-Term Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 23-54, Supplemen.
  5. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
  6. James Ted McDonald & Christopher Worswick, 1999. "Wages, Implicit Contracts, and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Canadian Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 884-913, August.
  7. Louis N. Christofides & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Wage rigidity in Canadian collective bargaining agreements," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 429-448, April.
  8. Jonathan P. Thomas, 2005. "Fair pay and a Wage-Bill Argument for low Real Wage Cyclicality and Excessive Employment Variability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 833-859, October.
  9. Donggyun Shin & Kwanho Shin, 2003. "Why Are The Wages of Job Stayers Procyclical?," ISER Discussion Paper 0573, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  10. Truman Bewley, 1999. "Work motivation," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 35-49.
  11. W. Bentley MacLeod & James M. Malcomson, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Working Papers 585, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Michael W. L. Elsby, 2005. "Evaluating the economic significance of downward nominal wage rigidity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19882, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1987. "On Union Preferences and Labour Market Models: Insiders and Outsi ders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(386), pages 431-45, June.
  14. Gottfries, Nils & Sjostrom, Tomas, 2000. " Insider Bargaining Power, Starting Wages and Involuntary Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(4), pages 669-88, December.
  15. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-55, November.
  16. Gottfries, Nils, 1992. "Insiders, Outsiders, and Nominal Wage Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 252-70, April.
  17. Devereux, Paul J. & Hart, Robert A., 2005. "The Spot Market Matters: Evidence on Implicit Contracts from Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 1497, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Job Loss, Job Finding, and Unemployment in the U.S. Economy Over the Past Fifty Years," NBER Working Papers 11678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. John Moore, 2007. "Stable Sets And Steady Wages," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(5), pages 721-730, November.
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