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Jel Classification:J31 

Working Paper
Declining labor turnover and turbulence

Superseded by 18-06. The purpose of this paper is to identify possible sources of the secular decline in the job separation rate over the past four decades. I use a simple labor matching model with two types of workers, experienced and inexperienced, where the former type faces a risk of skill loss during unemployment. When the skill loss occurs, the worker is required to restart his career and thus suffers a drop in his wage. I show that a higher risk of skill loss results in a lower separation rate. The key mechanism is that the experienced workers accept lower wages in exchange for keeping ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-29

Report
Relative pay, productivity, and labor supply

Relative pay ? earnings compared with the earnings of others doing a similar job, or compared with one?s earnings in the past ? affects how much individuals would like to work (labor supply) and their effort on the job; it therefore has implications for both employers and policy makers. A collection of recent studies shows that relative pay information, even when it is irrelevant, significantly affects labor supply and effort. This effect stems mainly from those who compare unfavorably, as essentially all studies find that awareness of earning less than others or less than in the past ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 17-2

Report
Anatomy of Lifetime Earnings Inequality: Heterogeneity in Job Ladder Risk vs. Human Capital

We study the determinants of lifetime earnings (LE) inequality in the United States, for which differences in lifetime earnings growth are key. Using administrative data and focusing on the roles of job ladder dynamics and on-the-job learning, we document that 1) lower LE workers change jobs more often, mainly driven by higher nonemployment; 2) earnings growth for job stayers is similar at around 2 percent in the bottom two-thirds of the LE distribution, whereas for job switchers it rises with LE; and 3) top LE workers enjoy high earnings growth regardless of job switching. We estimate a job ...
Staff Reports , Paper 908

Journal Article
Why Are Some Places So Much More Unequal Than Others?

This study examines the magnitude and sources of regional wage inequality in the United States. The authors find that, as in the nation as a whole, wage inequality has increased in nearly every metropolitan area since the early 1980s, though there is significant variation among places in both the degree of wage inequality and the pace at which it has risen. The most unequal places tend to be large urban areas that have benefited from strong demand for skill and agglomeration economies, with these factors leading to particularly rapid wage growth for high-skilled workers. The least unequal ...
Economic Policy Review , Volume 25 , Issue Dec

Working Paper
Human Capital and Development Accounting: New Evidence from Wage Gains at Migration

We use new data on the pre- and post-migration wages of U.S. immigrants to measure the importance of human capital for development accounting. Wages increase at migration, but by less than half of the gap in GDP per worker. This finding implies that human capital accounts for a large share of cross-country income differences. Wage gains decline with education, consistent with imperfect substitution between skill types. We bound the human capital share in development accounting to between one-half and two-thirds; additional assumptions lead to an estimate of 60 percent. We also provide results ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 1

Working Paper
Some Like It Hot: Assessing Longer-Term Labor Market Benefits from a High-Pressure Economy

This paper explores evidence for positive hysteresis in the labor market. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth, we find that negative labor market outcomes during high unemployment periods are mitigated by exposure to a high-pressure economy during the preceding expansion. Breaking total exposure into intensity and duration suggests that these two dimensions have differing impacts. However, the benefits of exposure are not enough to overcome the greater negative impact of high unemployment periods on labor market outcomes of disadvantaged groups, making extension of ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2018-1

Working Paper
Wage Setting Under Targeted Search

When setting initial compensation, some firms set a fixed, non-negotiable wage while others bargain. In this paper we propose a parsimonious search and matching model with two-sided heterogeneity, where the choice of wage-setting protocol, wages, search intensity and degree of randomness in matching are endogenous. We find that posting and bargaining coexist as wage-setting protocols if there is sufficient heterogeneity in match quality, search costs or market tightness and that labor market tightness and relative costs of search play a key role in the optimal choice of the wage-setting ...
Working Papers , Paper 2111

Working Paper
Wage Inequality and Job Stability

How much wage inequality in Brazil is caused by firing costs? To answer this question, I develop and estimate a general equilibrium search and matching model with heterogeneous layoff rates among firms. Using matched employer-employee data from Brazil, I estimate the model, and I find that it replicates the observed residual wage inequality in the data. I simulate a counterfactual removal of existing firing costs, and I find that residual wage inequality drops by 26% as measured by wage variance and by 4.4% as measured by the p95-p5 ratio among 25- to 55-year-old males working in the private ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 5

Working Paper
Dynamic Labor Reallocation with Heterogeneous Skills and Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk

Occupational specificity of human capital motivates an important role of occupationalreallocation for the economy’s response to shocks and for the dynamics of inequality.We introduce occupational mobility, through a random choice model with dynamicvalue function optimization, into a multi-sector/multi-occupation Bewley (1980)-Aiyagari (1994) model with heterogeneous income risk, liquid and illiquid assets, priceadjustment costs, and in which households differ by their occupation-specific skills.Labor income is a combination of endogenous occupational wages and idiosyncraticshock. ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2021-16

Working Paper
Explaining Cross-Cohort Differences in Life Cycle Earnings

College-educated workers entering the labor market in 1940 experienced a 4-fold increase in their labor earnings between the ages of 25 and 55; in contrast, the increase was 2.6-fold for those entering the market in 1980. For workers without a college education these figures are 3.6-fold and 1.5-fold, respectively. Why are earnings profiles flatter for recent cohorts? We build a parsimonious model of schooling and human capital accumulation on the job and calibrate it to earnings statistics of workers from the 1940 cohort. The model accounts for 99 percent of the flattening of earnings ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-35

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