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Jel Classification:J41 

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2023-10

Working Paper
Can Reputation Discipline the Gig Economy? Experimental Evidence from an Online Labor Market

Just as employers face uncertainty when hiring workers, workers also face uncertainty when accepting employment, and bad employers may opportunistically depart from expectations, norms, and laws. However, prior research in economics and information sciences has focused sharply on the employer?s problem of identifying good workers rather than vice versa. This issue is especially pronounced in markets for gig work, including online labor markets, where platforms are developing strategies to help workers identify good employers. We build a theoretical model for the value of such reputation ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 16

Working Paper
Breaking the Implicit Contract: Using Pension Freezes to Study Lifetime Labor Supply

This paper studies the elimination of traditional pensions and subsequent adoption of 401(k) plans by U.S. employers. Using thousands of firm-level natural experiments, it shows that unexpected losses in future compensation engendered by pension plan transitions induce premature retirement for some workers and delayed retirement for others. Observed heterogeneity in retirement behavior is indicative of differences in wealth and in preferences for leisure. Using credibly identified treatment effects as estimation targets, it fits a structural model of retirement and uses the model to evaluate ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-7

Working Paper
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, ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-30R

Working Paper
High Discounts and Low Fundamental Surplus: An Equivalence Result for Unemployment Fluctuations

Ljungqvist and Sargent (2017) (LS) show that unemployment fluctuations can be understoodin terms of a quantity they call the “fundamental surplus.” However, their analysis ignores riskpremia, a force that Hall (2017) shows is important in understanding unemployment fluctuations. Weshow how the LS framework can be adapted to incorporate risk premia. We derive an equivalenceresult that relates parameters in economies with risk premia to those of an artificial economy withoutrisk premia. We show how to use properties of the artificial economy to deduce how risk premia affectunemployment ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2021-22

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 choice of the wage-setting mechanism. ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-041

Working Paper
Training and Search on the Job

The paper studies human capital accumulation over workers? careers in an on the job search setting with heterogenous firms. In renegotiation proof employment con- tracts, more productive firms provide more training. Both general and specific training induce higher wages within jobs, and with future employers, even conditional on the future employer type. Because matches do not internalize the specific capital loss from employer changes, specific human capital can be over-accumulated, more so in low type firms. While validating the Acemoglu and Pischke (1999) mechanisms, the analysis ...
Working Papers , Paper 2016-25

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 search intensity and the degree of randomness in matching are endogenous, and firms decide whether to bargain or post wages. We study the implications of heterogeneous search costs and market tightness on the choice of the wage setting mechanism, as well as the relationship between bargaining prevalence and wage level, residual wage dispersion, and labor market tightness. We find that bargaining ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-041

Working Paper
Measuring Heterogeneity in Job Finding Rates Among the Nonemployed Using Labor Force Status Histories

We use a novel approach to studying the heterogeneity in the job finding rates of the nonemployed by classifying the nonemployed by labor force status (LFS) histories, instead of using only one-month LFS. Job finding rates differ substantially across LFS histories: they are 25-30% among those currently out of the labor force (OLF) with recent employment, 10% among those currently OLF who have been unemployed but not employed in the previous two months, and 2% among those who have been OLF in all three previous months. This heterogeneity cannot be deduced from the one-month LFS or from ...
Working Paper , Paper 14-18

Working Paper
What Can We Learn from Asynchronous Wage Changes?

I document eight novel facts about wage changes and provide a theoretical framework to rationalize them. I then illustrate how this new treatment of data and theoretical framework speak to important secular and cyclical features of the macroeconomy. The evidence put forth in this paper, suggests that a theory of wage setting in which wages respond to idiosyncratic competition is an important complement to the more conventional macroeconomic view in which wage rigidity is induced by deliberately divorcing the timing of wage changes from innovations in firms' and workers' opportunities.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-055r1


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