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A closer look at the gap. A comment on Cooper and Willis' 'mind the gap' paper

  • Christian Bayer

    (Universität Dortmund)

Recently, there has been a lively debate between Cooper and Willis (2001,2002,2003a, 2003b) and Caballero and Engel (2004) about the apropriateness of the so-called 'gap approach' to labor adjustment. Cooper and Willis claim that the gap approach is unable to identify non- convex adjustment costs because of a measurement error under the alternative hypothesis of convex costs. This comment assesses the validity of Cooper and Willis' claim by providing evidence from a number of Monte-Carlo experiments. In contrast to Cooper and Willis findings from single simulations, the experiments reveal no tendency to falsely reject the convex-cost hypothesis if one uses the correct one-sided test for non-convexities. In fact, the parameter estimates are typically biased against the hypothesis of non-convex costs. Consequently, there is no tendency to falsely reject although the estimates show substantial excess dispersion as a result of a spurious regression problem.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0408010.

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Length: 9 pages
Date of creation: 17 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0408010
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 9
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  1. Russell W. Cooper & Jonathan L. Willis, 2003. "The economics of labor adjustment: mind the gap," Staff Report 310, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Russell Cooper & Jonathan Willis, 2009. "The Cost of Labor Adjustment: Inferences from the Gap," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(4), pages 632-647, October.
  3. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building From Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 2004. "Three Strikes and You're Out: Reply to Cooper and Willis," NBER Working Papers 10368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Caballero, Ricardo J & Engel, Eduardo M R A, 1993. "Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 359-83, May.
  6. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1996. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," Documentos de Trabajo 12, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  7. Cabalero, R.J., 1997. "Aggregaete Investment," Working papers 97-20, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
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