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The cyclical price of labor when wages are smoothed
I conduct an empirical investigation of the cyclicality of the price of labor. Firms employ workers up to the point where workers' marginal revenue product equals the price of labor. If the labor market is a spot market, then the price of labor is the wage. But often workers are contracted for more than one period. The price of labor captures both the wage at the time of hiring and the impact of labor market conditions at the time of hiring on future wages. The price of labor and not wage is allocational for employment. Because it is not directly observed in the data, I construct the price of ...
Are wages rigid over the business cycle?
Search models of the labor market suggest that a significant determinant of job creation decisions by firms is the expected value of the initial and future real wages that firms have to pay to workers in newly formed employment relationships. Until recently, the focus of the empirical literature has been on the cyclical behavior of the current wage, but not on the cyclical behavior of the expected present discounted value of future wages within a match. This article reviews the empirical literature on the cyclicality of real wages of workers in continuing employment relationships, wages of ...
Revisiting Gertler-Gilchrist Evidence on the Behavior of Small and Large Firms
Gertler and Gilchrist (1994) provide evidence for the prevailing view that adverse shocks are propagated via credit constraints of small firms. We revisit the behavior of small versus large firms during the episodes of credit disruption andrecessions in the sample extended to cover the 2007-09 economic crisis. We find that large firms' short-term debt and sales contracted relatively more than those of small firms during the 2007-09 episode. Furthermore, the short-term debt of large firms also contracted relatively more in the previous tight money episodes if one takes into account the longer ...
The Quality-Adjusted Cyclical Price of Labor
Typical measures of wages, such as average hourly earnings, fail to capture cyclicality in the effective cost of labor in the presence of (i) cyclical fluctuations in the quality of worker-firm matches, or (ii) wages being smoothed within employment matches. To address both concerns, we estimate cyclicality in labor’s user cost exploiting the longrun wage in a match to control for match quality. Using NLSY data for 1980 to 2019, we identify three channels by which hiring in a recession affects user cost: It lowers the new-hire wage; it lowers wages going forward in the match; but it also ...
Dynastic Home Equity
Using a nationally representative panel of consumer credit records for the US from 1999 to 2021, we document a positive correlation between child and parent homeownership. We propose a new causal mechanism behind this relationship based on parents extracting home equity to help finance their child's home purchase and quantify this mechanism in several ways. First, controlling for cohort, zip code, age, and the creditworthiness of parents and children, we find that children whose parents extract equity are 60% more likely to become a homeowner than children whose homeowner-parents do not ...
Passing Along Housing Wealth from Parents to Children
Young adults are more likely to own a home if their parents are homeowners than if their parents are renters. New research reveals how parents owning a home can lead to an increase in the persistence in homeownership across generations. Specifically, homeowner parents are often able to extract the equity value from their home to help their children purchase a home. This “dynastic” home equity enables children of homeowner parents who extract equity to accumulate approximately one third more housing wealth by age 30 than children of renters.
A closer look at the decline in the labor force participation rate
The labor force participation rate has fallen from over 67 percent in 2000 to almost 63 percent today. Among the reasons are the downward trends in the percentages of women and young people in the labor force.
The Inexorable Recoveries of U.S. Unemployment
Unemployment recoveries in the US have been inexorable. Between 1949 and 2019, the annual reduction in the unemployment rate during cyclical recoveries was tightly distributed around 0.1 log points per year. The economy seems to have an irresistible force toward restoring full employment. Unless another crisis intervenes, unemployment continues to glide down to a level of approximately 3.5 percentage points. Occasionally unemployment rises rapidly during an economic crisis, while most the time, unemployment declines slowly and smoothly at a near-constant proportional rate. We show that ...
How Much Consumption Responds to Government Stimulus
What is the effect of government spending on private consumption? Estimates show that stimulus distributed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had a large positive effect. Estimates from regional data suggest every $100 of stimulus generated an additional $18 within regions. Furthermore, by accounting for economic connections that spread the impact beyond regional borders, a new study finds that every $100 triggered an increase of $40 in overall private consumption in the economy.
Minimum Wage Increases and Vacancies
Using a unique data set and a novel identification strategy, we estimate the effect of minimum wage increases on job vacancy postings. Utilizing occupation-specific county level vacancy data from the Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online for 2005-2018, we find that state-level minimum wage increases lead to substantial declines in existing and new vacancy postings in occupations with a larger share of workers who earn close to the prevailing minimum wage. We estimate that a 10 percent increase in the state level effective minimum wage reduces vacancies by 2.4 percent in the same quarter, ...