Movements of Wages over the Business Cycle: An Intra-Firm View
This paper tests the hypothesis that firms adjust to the business cycle by altering employment through promotion and hiring and holding the salary structure and salaries assigned to jobs relatively constant. Two comprehensive firm-level panel datasets are used to examine salary setting and worker movement within firms. The salary structure is found to be rigid whereas promotion rates are cyclically sensitive. In contrast to the hypothesis, wage cyclicality in these two firms is driven by changes in salaries associated with jobs rather than by worker movement. An additional finding is that ...
The role of China in Asia: engine, conduit, or steamroller?
This paper assesses China's role in Asia as an independent engine of growth, as a conduit of demand from the industrial countries, and as a competitor for export markets. We provide both macroeconomic and microeconomic evidence. The macroeconomic analysis focuses on the impact of U.S. and Chinese demand on the output of the Asian economies by estimating growth comovements and VARs. The results suggest an increasing role of China as an independent source of growth. The microeconomic analysis decomposes trade into basic products, parts and components, and finished goods. We find a large role ...
Why Has the Stock Market Risen So Much Since the US Presidential Election?
This paper looks at the evolution of U.S. stock prices from the time of the Presidential elections to the end of 2017. It concludes that a bit more than half of the increase in the aggregate U.S. stock prices from the presidential election to the end of 2017 can be attributed to higher actual and expected dividends. A general improvement in economic activity and a decrease in economic policy uncertainty around the world were the main factors behind the stock market increase. The prospect and the eventual passage of the corporate tax bill nevertheless played a role. And while part of the rise ...
Are recoveries from banking and financial crises really so different?
This paper studies the behavior of recoveries from recessions across 59 advanced and emerging market economies over the past 40 years. Focusing specifically on the performance of output after the recession trough, we find little or no difference in the pace of output growth across types of recessions. In particular, banking and financial crisis do not affect the strength of the economic rebound, although these recessions are more severe, implying a sizable output loss. However, recovery does change with some characteristics of recession. Recoveries tend to be faster following deeper ...
Recent U.S. macroeconomic stability: good policies, good practices or good luck?
The volatility of U.S. real GDP growth since 1984 has been markedly lower than that over the previous quarter-century. In this paper, we utilize frequency-domain and VAR methods to distinguish among several competing explanations for this phenomenon: improvements in monetary policy, better business practices, and a fortuitous reduction in exogenous disturbances. We find that reduced innovation variances account for much of the decline in aggregate output volatility. Our results support the "good-luck" hypothesis as the leading explanation for the decline in aggregate output volatility, ...
Potential Output and Recessions: Are We Fooling Ourselves?
This paper studies the impact of recessions on the longer-run level of output using data on 23 advanced economies over the past 40 years. We find that severe recessions have a sustained and sizable negative impact on the level of output. This sustained decline in output raises questions about the underlying properties of output and how we model trend output or potential around recessions. We find little support for the view that output rises faster than trend immediately following recessions to close the output gap. Indeed, we find little evidence that growth is faster following recessions ...
India's future: it's about jobs
Projections of sustained strong growth in India depend importantly on the utilization of the huge increase in India's working-age population projected over the next two decades. To date, however, India's economic growth has been concentrated in high-skill and capital-intensive sectors, and has not generated strong employment growth. In this paper, we highlight the tension between India's performance in output and employment, describe the characteristics of India's demographic dividend, and discuss impediments to India's shift away from agriculture.
Nominal wage rigidity and real wage cyclicality
We discuss the ability of standard estimates of the correlation of wages and employment to measure the relative strength of aggregate demand and supply shocks, given that the choice of time period, deflator, and explanatory variables inherently biases the estimated cyclical coefficients toward identifying labor supply or demand. We determine that a closer look at the standard wage/labor correlation shows that it can neither provide information on the relative strength of supply and demand shocks, nor give an indication of the response of wages to aggregate demand shocks. Following this, we ...
Downward nominal wage rigidity: evidence from the employment cost index
We examine the extent of downward nominal wage rigidity using the microdata underlying the BLS employment cost index--an extensive, establishment-based dataset with detailed information on wage and benefit costs. We find stronger evidence of downward nominal wage rigidity than did previous studies using panel data on individuals. Firms appear able to circumvent part, but not all, of this rigidity by varying benefits: Total compensation displays modestly less rigidity than do wages alone. Given our estimated amount of rigidity, a simple model predicts that the disinflation over the 1980s would ...
Wage rigidity: a look inside the firm
This paper tests for nominal salary rigidity using panel data from two large service-sector firms. Distributions of the firms' salary changes exhibit nominal rigidity: few nominal pay cuts, a pile-up of observations at zero, and positive skewness and asymmetry. In addition, these characteristics become more pronounced in periods of low inflation. These results are much stronger than those found in the previous literature. Further analysis shows that the sizable measurement error in the PSID and the fact that establishment surveys typically follow average wages within jobs may bias the results ...