The Survey of Consumer Expectations Turns Two!
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York?s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) turned two years old in June. In this post, we review some of the key findings from the first two years of the survey?s history, highlighting the most noteworthy trends revealed in the data.
Importing equality? The effects of increased competition on the gender wage gap
It is now well documented that the gender wage gap declined substantially in the 1980s, despite rising overall wage inequality. While Blau and Kahn (JoLE 1997) attribute much of this improvement to gains in women's relative labor market experience and other observable characteristics, a substantial part of the decline in the gender wage gap remains unexplained, and may be due to reduced discrimination against women in the labor market. This paper tests the hypothesis (based on Becker 1957) that increased globalization in the 1980s forced employers to reduce costly discrimination against women ...
Some Places are Much More Unequal than Others
Economic inequality in the United States is much more pronounced in some parts of the country than others. In this post, we examine the geography of wage inequality, drawing on our recent Economic Policy Review article. We find that the most unequal places tend to be large urban areas with strong economies where wage growth has been particularly strong for those at the top of the wage distribution. The least unequal places, on the other hand, tend to have relatively sluggish economies that deliver slower wage growth for high, middle, and lower wage earners alike. Many of the least unequal ...
The Passthrough of Labor Costs to Price Inflation
We use a time-varying parameter/stochastic volatility VAR framework to assess how the passthrough of labor costs to price inflation has evolved over time in U.S. data. We find little evidence that changes in labor costs have had a material effect on price inflation in recent years, even for compensation measures where some degree of passthrough to prices still appears to be present. Our results cast doubt on explanations of recent inflation behavior that appeal to such mechanisms as downward nominal wage rigidity or a differential contribution of long-term and short-term unemployed workers to ...
Monopsony in Spatial Equilibrium
An emerging labor economics literature studies the consequences of firms exercising market power in local labor markets. These monopsony models have implications for trends in earnings inequality. The extent of this market power is likely to vary across local labor markets. In choosing what market to live and work in, workers trade off wages, rents and local amenities. Building on the Rosen/Roback spatial equilibrium model, we investigate how the existence of local monopsony power affects the cross-sectional spatial distribution of wages and rents across cities. We find an employment-weighted ...
Inflation and the Gig Economy: Have the Rise of Online Retailing and Self-Employment Disrupted the Phillips Curve?
During the recovery from the Great Recession, inflation did not reach the central bank?s 2 percent objective as quickly as many models had predicted. This coincided with increases in online shopping, which arguably made retail markets more contestable and damped retail inflation. This hypothesis is tested using data on the online share of retail sales, which are incorporated into an econometric model. Results imply that the rise of online retail has flattened the Phillips Curve, reducing the sensitivity of inflation to unemployment rate changes. Improvement in fit from just including the ...
Does Automation Always Lead to a Decline in Low-Wage Jobs?
To what extent are low-wage jobs in the United States being replaced by technology? Our research suggests that low-wage jobs that are intensive in routine cognitive tasks, such as cashier, were supplanted by automation during the 2000s. Moreover, since the Great Recession, jobs intensive in both routine manual and routine cognitive tasks have been negatively impacted by automation. Nevertheless, the overall effect on individual low-wage workers has been surprisingly small.
Understanding the Relationship between Real Wage Growth and Labor Market Conditions
The authors find that the share of the labor force that is medium-term unemployed (five to 26 weeks unemployed) and the share working part time (less than 35 hours per week) involuntarily are strongly correlated with real wage growth. Moreover, they estimate that average real wage growth would have been between one-half of a percentage point and a full percentage point higher in June 2014 if 2005?07 labor market conditions had been restored, indicating that the slack in the jobs market still weighs heavily on the real wage prospects of U.S. workers.
Wage Growth, Inflation and the Labor Share
The recent pattern of nominal wage growth has been a puzzle to economists, researchers and policymakers because it lies well below the trend wage growth predicted by inflation and productivity growth. We show that the difference can be reconciled by accounting for the labor share of output, which has been on a declining trend for the past 15 years.
What Does Labor Market Tightness Tell Us About the End of an Expansion?
We use a model based on the historical relationships between unemployment, inflation, and recessions, along with the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC),1 to examine the medium-term implications of current and projected unemployment rates for the U.S. economy. Our model predicts a low probability of a recession in the next two to three years based on SEP forecasts for additional labor market tightening over this horizon.