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American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics: Vol. 4 No. 4 (October 2012)

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Measuring What Employers Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle: A New Approach

Article Citation

Martins, Pedro S., Gary Solon, and Jonathan P. Thomas. 2012. "Measuring What Employers Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle: A New Approach." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 4(4): 36-55.

DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.4.36

Abstract

Rigidity in real hiring wages plays a crucial role in some recent macroeconomic models. But are hiring wages really so noncyclical? We propose using employer/employee longitudinal data to track the cyclical variation in the wages paid to workers newly hired into specific entry jobs. Illustrating the methodology with 1982-2008 data from the Portuguese census of employers, we find real entry wages were about 1.8 percent higher when the unemployment rate was 1 percentage point lower. Like most recent evidence on other aspects of wage cyclicality, our results suggest that the cyclical elasticity of wages is similar to that of employment. (JEL E24, E32, J31, J64)

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Authors

Martins, Pedro S. (Queen Mary, U London)
Solon, Gary (MI State U)
Thomas, Jonathan P. (U Edinburgh)

JEL Classifications

E24: Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital
E32: Business Fluctuations; Cycles
J31: Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
J64: Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics


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