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Endogenous labor market participation and the business cycle


  • Christian Haefke
  • Michael Reiter


Existing models of equilibrium unemployment with endogenous labor market participation are complex, generate procyclical unemployment rates and cannot match unemployment variability relative to GDP. We embed endogenous participation in a simple, tractable job market matching model, show analytically how variations in the participation rate are driven by the cross-sectional density of home productivity near the participation threshold, and how this density translates into an extensive-margin labor supply elasticity. A calibration of the model to macro data not only matches employment and participation variabilities but also generates strongly countercyclical unemployment rates. With some wage rigidity the model also matches unemployment variations well. Furthermore, the labor supply elasticity implied by our calibration is consistent with microeconometric evidence for the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Haefke & Michael Reiter, 2006. "Endogenous labor market participation and the business cycle," Economics Working Papers 950, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:950

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Kennan, 2010. "Private Information, Wage Bargaining and Employment Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 633-664.
    2. Tripier, Fabien, 2004. "Can the labor market search model explain the fluctuations of allocations of time?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 131-146, January.
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    6. Dale Mortensen & Eva Nagypal, 2007. "More on Unemployment and Vacancy Fluctuations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(3), pages 327-347, July.
    7. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2008. "Trends in Hours and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 239-256, April.
    8. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-283, June.
    9. Veracierto, Marcelo, 2008. "On the cyclical behavior of employment, unemployment and labor force participation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1143-1157, September.
    10. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ebell, Monique, 2011. "On the cyclicality of unemployment: Resurrecting the participation margin," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 822-836.
    2. Bertinelli, Luisito & Cardi, Olivier & Sen, Partha, 2013. "Deregulation shock in product market and unemployment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 711-734.
    3. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2006. "Growth and labour markets in developing countries," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-12, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
    4. Alexander Ludwig & Michael Reiter, 2010. "Sharing Demographic Risk--Who Is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 83-118, November.
    5. Haefke, Christian & Reiter, Michael, 2011. "What Do Participation Fluctuations Tell Us About Labor Supply Elasticities?," IZA Discussion Papers 6039, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Moon, Weh-Sol, 2011. "Endogenous labor force participation and firing costs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 607-623, October.
    7. Alexander Ludwig & Michael Reiter, 2008. "Sharing Demographic Risk – Who is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," MEA discussion paper series 08166, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    8. Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau, 2014. "Credit, Vacancies and Unemployment Fluctuations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 191-205, April.
    9. Shigeru Fujita & Garey Ramey, 2007. "Reassessing the Shimer facts," Working Papers 07-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    10. Ebell, Monique, 2008. "Resurrecting the participation margin," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19570, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2008. "Heterogeneity and Cyclical Unemployment," RCER Working Papers 543, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    12. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2009. "Labor Markets and Productivity in Developing Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 183-204, January.
    13. Bachmann, Ronald & Bechara, Peggy & Kramer, Anica & Rzepka, Sylvi, 2014. "A Study on Labour Market Transitions Using Micro-data from the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (SILC). Final Report," RWI Projektberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, number 111484.
    14. Moon, Weh-Sol, 2008. "Explaining the Joint Behavior of Employment, Unemployment and Nonparticipation," MPRA Paper 10583, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2008.

    More about this item


    Matching Models; Labor Market Participation; Labor Supply Elasticity; Time Aggregation;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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