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Author:Epstein, Brendan 

Working Paper
Offshoring, Mismatch, and Labor Market Outcomes

We study the role of labor market mismatch in the adjustment to a trade liberalization that results in the offshoring of high-tech production. Our model features two-sided heterogeneity in the labor market: high- and low-skilled workers are matched in a frictional labor market with high- and low-tech firms. Mismatch employment occurs when high-skilled workers choose to accept a less desirable job in the low-tech industry. The main result is that--perhaps counter-intuitively--this type of job displacement is actually beneficial for the labor market in the country doing the offshoring. Mismatch ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1118

Working Paper
Taxation, match quality and social welfare

A large public finance literature argues that taxable income elasticities are a sufficient statistic for the social welfare consequences of taxation. We develop calibrations that show such deadweight loss calculations are overestimates proportional to the quantitative significance of heterogeneity in amenities across job matches. In particular, the endogenous supply of amenities can substantially exacerbate this overestimation in both static and dynamic environments. Given the possibility of gradual migration of workers into more amenity-focused job matches in response to tax increases, ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1079

Working Paper
Heterogeneous workers, optimal job seeking, and aggregate labor market dynamics

In the United States, the aggregate vacancy-unemployment (V/U) ratio is strongly procyclical, and a large fraction of its adjustment associated with changes in productivity is sluggish. The latter is entirely unexplained by the benchmark homogeneous-agent model of equilibrium unemployment theory. I show that endogenous search and worker-side horizontal heterogeneity in production capacity can be important in accounting for this propagation puzzle. Driven by differences in unemployed and on-the-job seekers' search incentives, the probability that any given firm with a job opening matches with ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1053

Working Paper
The Welfare Costs of Skill-Mismatch Employment

Skill-mismatch employment occurs when high-skilled individuals accept employment in jobs for which they are over-qualified. These employment relationships can be beneficial because they allow high-skilled individuals to more rapidly transition out of unemployment. They come at the cost, however, in the form of lower wage compensation. Moreover, an externality arises as high-skilled individuals do not take into account the effect that their search activity in the market for low-tech jobs has on low-skilled individuals. This paper presents a tractable general equilibrium model featuring ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-42

Working Paper
Efficient Mismatch

This paper presents a model in which mismatch employment arises in a constrained efficient equilibrium. In the decentralized economy, however, mismatch gives rise to a congestion externality whereby heterogeneous job seekers fail to internalize how their individual actions affect the labor market outcomes of competitors in a common unemployment pool. We provide an analytic characterization of this distortion, assess the distributional nature of the associated welfare effects, and relate it to the relative productivity of low- and high-skilled workers competing for similar jobs.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-037

Working Paper
Employment and Firm Heterogeneity, Capital Allocation, and Countercyclical Labor Market Policies

Many countries have large employment shares in micro and small firms that have limited access to formal financing and therefore rely on input credit. Such countries are mainly emerging and developing economies, whose business cycle dynamics are increasingly important for the global economy in light of the dramatic rise in international linkages and spillovers that have occurred over the last several decades. Emerging and developing economies implemented a host of countercyclical labor market policies amid the global financial crisis, but data limitations on high-frequency labor and job flows ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1115

Working Paper
Taxes and International Risk Sharing

We examine the extent to which differences in international tax rates may account for the small correlations of per capita consumption fluctuations across countries. Theory implies a close relationship between relative consumption growth, and consumption and capital income tax rate differentials. We find strong empirical evidence for this relationship. Idiosyncratic output fluctuations account for the majority of cross country consumption growth variability, but trends in tax differentials are informative about the dynamic evolution of international risk sharing. In particular, adjusting for ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1110

Working Paper
The Decline of Drudgery and the Paradox of Hard Work

We develop a theory that focuses on the general equilibrium and long-run macroeconomic consequences of trends in job utility. Given secular increases in job utility, work hours per capita can remain approximately constant over time even if the income effect of higher wages on labor supply exceeds the substitution effect. In addition, secular improvements in job utility can be substantial relative to welfare gains from ordinary technological progress. These two implications are connected by an equation flowing from optimal hours choices: improvements in job utility that have a significant ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1106

Working Paper
Taxation, Social Welfare, and Labor Market Frictions

Taking inefficiencies from taxation as given, a well-known public finance literature shows that the elasticity of taxable income (ETI) is a sufficient statistic for assessing the deadweight loss (DWL) from taxing labor income in a static neoclassical framework. Using a theoretical approach, we revisit this result from the vantage point of a general equilibrium macroeconomic model with labor search frictions. We show that, in this context, and against the backdrop of inefficient taxation, DWL can be up to 38 percent higher than the ETI under a range of reasonable parametric assumptions. ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1284

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