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Jel Classification:J60 

Report
The Spread of COVID-19 and the BCG Vaccine: A Natural Experiment in Reunified Germany

As COVID-19 has spread across the globe, several observers noticed that countries still administering an old vaccine against tuberculosis—the BCG vaccine—have had fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita in the early stages of the outbreak. This paper uses a geographic regression discontinuity analysis to study whether and how COVID-19 prevalence changes discontinuously at the old border between West Germany and East Germany. The border used to separate two countries with very different vaccination policies during the Cold War era. We provide formal evidence that there is indeed a ...
Staff Reports , Paper 926

Working Paper
Spatial Wage Gaps in Frictional Labor Markets

We develop a job ladder model with labor reallocation across firms and regions, and estimate it on matched employer-employee data to study the large and persistent real wage gap between East and West Germany. We find that the wage gap is mostly due to firms paying higher wages per efficiency unit in West Germany and quantify a rich set of frictions preventing worker reallocation across space and across firms. We find that three spatial barriers impede East Germans’ ability to migrate West: migration costs, a preference to live in the East, and fewer job opportunities received from the West. ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 29

Working Paper
The intensive and extensive margins of real wage adjustment

Using 35 years of data from the Current Population Survey we decompose fluctuations in real median weekly earnings growth into the part driven by movements in the intensive margin-wage growth of individuals continuously full-time employed-and movements in the extensive margin-wage differences of those moving into and out of full-time employment. The relative importance of these two margins varies significantly over the business cycle. When labor markets are tight, continuously full-time employed workers drive wage growth. During labor market downturns, the procyclicality of the intensive ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2016-4

Working Paper
Unemployment Paths in a Pandemic Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the U.S. economy and labor market. We assess the initial spike in unemployment due to the virus response and possible paths for the official unemployment rate through 2021. Substantial uncertainty surrounds the path for measured unemployment, depending on the path of the virus and containment measures and their impact on reported job search activity. We assess potential unemployment paths based on historical patterns of monthly flows in and out of unemployment, adjusted for unique features of the virus economy. The possible paths vary widely, but absent ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2020-18

Working Paper
Dynamic Beveridge Curve Accounting

We develop a dynamic decomposition of the empirical Beveridge curve, i.e., the level of vacancies conditional on unemployment. Using a standard model, we show that three factors can shift the Beveridge curve: reduced-form matching efficiency, changes in the job separation rate, and out-of-steady-state dynamics. We find that the shift in the Beveridge curve during and after the Great Recession was due to all three factors, and each factor taken separately had a large effect. Comparing the pre-2010 period to the post-2010 period, a fall in matching efficiency and out-of-steady-state dynamics ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-027

Working Paper
Understanding Declining Fluidity in the U.S. Labor Market

We document a clear downward trend in labor market fluidity that is common across a variety of measures of worker and job turnover. This trend dates to at least the early 1980s if not somewhat earlier. Next we pull together evidence on a variety of hypotheses that might explain this downward trend. It is only partly related to population demographics and is not due to the secular shift in industrial composition. Moreover, the decline in labor market fluidity seems unlikely to have been caused by an improvement in worker-firm matching, the formalization of hiring practices, or an increase in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-15

Working Paper
House Lock and Structural Unemployment

A recent decline in geographic mobility in the United States may have been caused in part by falling house prices, through the ?lock in? effects of financial constraints faced by households whose housing debt exceeds the market value of their home. I analyze the relationship between such ?house lock? and the elevated levels and persistence of unemployment during the recent recession and its aftermath, using data that covers the period through the end of 2011. Because house lock will extend job search in the local labor market for homeowners whose home value has declined, I focus on ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2012-25

Working Paper
Approximating Multisector New Keynesian Models

We show that a calibrated three-sector model with a suitably chosen distribution of price stickiness can closely approximate the dynamic properties of New Keynesian models with a much larger number of sectors. The parameters of the approximate three-sector distribution are such that both the approximate and the original distributions share the same (i) average frequency of price changes, (ii) cross-sectional average of durations of price spells, (iii) cross-sectional standard deviation of durations of price spells, (iv) the cross-sectional skewness of durations of price spells, and (v) ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2017-12

Working Paper
Assessing the Change in Labor Market Conditions

This paper describes a dynamic factor model of 19 U.S. labor market indicators, covering the broad categories of unemployment and underemployment, employment, workweeks, wages, vacancies, hiring, layoffs, quits, and surveys of consumers' and businesses' perceptions. The resulting labor market conditions index (LMCI) is a useful tool for gauging the change in labor market conditions. In addition, the model provides a way to organize discussions of the signal value of different labor market indicators in situations when they might be sending diverse signals. The model takes the greatest signal ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-109

Report
Asset Prices and Unemployment Fluctuations

Recent critiques have demonstrated that existing attempts to account for the unemployment volatility puzzle of search models are inconsistent with the procylicality of the opportunity cost of employment, the cyclicality of wages, and the volatility of risk-free rates. We propose a model that is immune to these critiques and solves this puzzle by allowing for preferences that generate time-varying risk over the cycle, and so account for observed asset pricing fluctuations, and for human capital accumulation on the job, consistent with existing estimates of returns to labor market experience. ...
Staff Report , Paper 591

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