Working Paper

Oligopsonies over the Business Cycle


Abstract: With a duopsony model, we show how the degree of labor market slack relates to earnings inequality and firm size distribution across local labor markets and the business cycle. In booms, due to the high aggregate productivity, there is fierce competition with resulting high wages and full employment. During recessions, there is labor market slack and firms enjoy local market power. In periods in which the economy is moving in or out of a recession, there is an “accommodation” phase, with firms shrinking their labor forces and paying lower wages instead of competing for poached workers. We show that the impact of economic shocks on wage dispersion and inequality may vary not only due to the nature of the shock, but also based on which equilibrium the economy may have settled in.

Keywords: Labor Market Slack; Wage Inequality;

JEL Classification: J21; J23; J42; L13;

https://doi.org/10.26509/frbc-wp-202006

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File(s): https://doi.org/10.26509/frbc-wp-202006
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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2020-02-27

Number: 20200600

Pages: 34