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The Cyclical Behavior of Unemployment and Wages under Information Frictions
I propose a new mechanism for sluggish wages based on workers' noisy information about the state of the economy. Wages do not respond immediately to a positive aggregate shock because workers do not (yet) have enough information to demand higher wages. This increases firms' incentives to post more vacancies, which makes unemployment volatile and sensitive to aggregate shocks. The model is robust to two major criticisms of existing theories of sluggish wages and volatile unemployment: flexibility of wages for new hires and pro-cyclicality of the opportunity cost of employment. Calibrated to ...
Firm Leverage, Labor Market Size, and Employee Pay
We provide new estimates of the wage costs of firms' debt. Our empirical approach exploits within-firm geographical variation in workers' expected unemployment costs due to variation in local labor market size and uses a large representative sample of public firms. We find that, following an increase in firm leverage, workers with higher unemployment costs experience higher wage growth relative to workers at the same firm with lower unemployment costs. Overall, our estimates suggest that a 10 percentage point increase in leverage increases wage compensation for the median worker by 1.9% and ...
Wage Dispersion with Heterogeneous Wage Contracts
I study a labor market in which identical workers search on- and off-the-job and heterogeneous firms employ using either posted wages or wage contracts contingent on outside options. Firm level costs for contingent contracts generate a separating equilibrium in which less productive firms post wages. The model with heterogeneous contracts can achieve wage dispersion, labor share, employment transitions, and flow value of unemployment that are simultaneously consistent with empirical observations even when most firms post wages. Using German employee-level administrative data, I estimate ...