Labour Economics

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0927-5371
Publications
Article
This study investigates how maternal employment is related to the cognitive development and body weight of 10 and 11 year olds, controlling for a wide variety of child, mother and family characteristics. The results suggest that limited market work benefits youths who are relatively "disadvantaged" and even long hours, which occur infrequently, are unlikely to leave them much worse off. By contrast, maternal labor supply is estimated to have more uniformly harmful consequences for "advantaged" adolescents. The negative cognitive effects for these youths probably partly occur because maternal labor supply reduces the time spent in enriching home environments. Some of the growth in obesity may be related to determinants of excess weight common to the child and mother.
 
Descriptive statistics 
Article
Current demographic developments in industrialized countries and their consequences for workforce ageing challenge the sustainability of intergenerational transfers and economic growth. A shrinking share of the young workforce will have to support a growing share of elderly, non-working people. Therefore, the productivity of the workforce is central to a sustainable economic future. Using a new matched employer-employee panel dataset for Austrian firms for the period 2002-2005, we study the relationship between the age structure of employees, labour productivity and wages. These data allow us to account, simultaneously, for both socio-demographic characteristics of employees and firm heterogeneity, in order to explain labour productivity and earnings. Our results indicate that firm productivity is not negatively related to the share of older employees it employs. We also find no evidence for overpayment of older employees. Our results do not show any association between wages and the share of older employees. Furthermore, we find a negative relationship between the share of young employees and labour productivity as well as wages, which is more prevalent in the industry and construction sector.
 
Article
This paper examines the links between gender differences in attitudes towards economic risk and the gender pay gap. Consistent with the literature on the socio-economic determinants of attitudes towards economic risk, it shows that females are much more risk averse than males. It then extends this research to show that workers with more favorable attitudes towards risk are associated with higher earnings, and that gender differences in attitudes towards economic risk can account for a small, though important, part of the standardized gender pay gap.
 
Article
This paper presents instrumental variables estimates of the effects of firm tenure, occupation specific work experience, industry specific work experience, and general work experience on wages using data from the 1979 Cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The estimates indicate that both occupation and industry specific human capital are key determinants of wages, and the importance of various types of human capital varies widely across one-digit occupations. Human capital is primarily occupation specific in occupations such as craftsmen, where workers realize a 14% increase in wages after five years of occupation specific experience but do not realize wage gains from industry specific experience. In contrast, human capital is primarily industry specific in other occupations such as managerial employment where workers realize a 23% wage increase after five years of industry specific work experience. In other occupations, such as professional employment, both occupation and industry specific human capital are key determinants of wages.
 
Article
Why do estimates of the intergenerational persistence in earnings vary so much for the United States? Recent research suggests that lifecycle bias may be a major factor [Grawe, N., Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence. Labour Economics 2006, 13:551-570; Haider, S., and Solon, G., Life-cycle variation in the association between current and lifetime earnings. American Economic Review 2006, 96(4):1308-1320.]. In this paper we estimate the intergenerational correlation in lifetime earnings by using sons' and fathers' earnings at similar ages in order to account for lifecycle bias. Our estimate based on earnings measured at 35-44 for both fathers and sons is similar to that for the age range 45-54.
 
Relative change in wages before and after plant closure by level of pre-displacement firm wage component.
Relative change in firm-fixed components before and after plant closure by level of pre-displacement firm component.
Article
Decomposing wages into worker and firm wage components, we find that firm-fixed components are sizeable parts of workers' wages. If workers can only imperfectly observe the extent of firm-fixed components in their wages, they might be misled about the overall wage distribution. Such misperceptions may lead to unjustified high reservation wages, resulting in overly long unemployment durations. We examine the influence of previous wages on unemployment durations for workers after exogenous lay-offs and, using Austrian administrative data, we find that younger workers are, in fact, unemployed longer if they profited from high firm-fixed components in the past. We interpret our findings as evidence for overconfidence generated by imperfectly observed productivity.
 
Article
This paper summarizes recent evidence on what achievement tests measure; how achievement tests relate to other measures of "cognitive ability" like IQ and grades; the important skills that achievement tests miss or mismeasure, and how much these skills matter in life. Achievement tests miss, or perhaps more accurately, do not adequately capture, soft skills-personality traits, goals, motivations, and preferences that are valued in the labor market, in school, and in many other domains. The larger message of this paper is that soft skills predict success in life, that they causally produce that success, and that programs that enhance soft skills have an important place in an effective portfolio of public policies.
 
Article
Quantile regression estimates of returns to education are used to address the relation between schooling and wage inequality. Empirical evidence for male workers from 16 countries for the mid-1990s suggests a robust stylised fact: Returns to schooling are higher for the more skilled individuals, conditional on their observable characteristics. This suggests that schooling has a positive impact upon within-levels wage inequality. Factors such as over-education, ability–schooling interactions and school quality or different fields of study may be driving this result.
 
Article
We study the reaction of stock prices to announcements of reductions in force (RIFs) using a sample of 4273 such announcements in 1160 large firms during the 1970-99 period collected from the Wall Street Journal. We note that the total number of actual announcements for the firms in our sample follows the business cycle quite closely. We then examine changes over time in standard summary statistics (means, medians, fraction positive) of the distribution of stock market reactions, measured by the cumulative excess returns (CER) of firms' stock prices over a 3-day event window centered on the announcement date, as well as changes over time in kernel density estimates of this distribution. We find clear evidence that the distribution of stock market reactions shifted to the right (became less negative) over time. One possible explanation for this change is that, over the last three decades, RIFs designed to improve efficiency have become more common relative to RIFs designed to cope with reductions in product demand. We estimate multivariate regression models of the CER controlling for the stated reason for the announced layoff, industry, and other characteristics of the announced layoff. We find that almost none of the decline in the negative average stock price reaction between the 1970s and 1990s can be explained by these factors.
 
Article
This study demonstrates that the Football World Cup 1974 in Germany was not able to generate any medium to long-term employment effects that were significantly different from zero. It is the first work to examine the employment effects of Football World Cup tournaments. It is also the first work to undertake a multivariate analysis of the employment effects of a major sporting event outside of the USA. In addition, this study does not arbitrarily determine the time period for the potential positive effects of a major sporting event but instead examines several alternative periods. Furthermore, the study tests for method sensitivity by analysing the data set in parallel with the approaches used in the studies of sporting events in the USA as well as in a fourth modifying estimation approach. In contrast to the conclusions reached in comparable studies, the results are not regarded as a clear refutation of the positive effects of major sporting events.
 
Article
We examine the impact of educational mismatch on wages and wage growth in Sweden. The empirical analyses, based on cross-sectional and panel data from the Level of living surveys 1974–2000, are guided by two main hypotheses: (a) that educational mismatch reflects human capital compensation rather than real mismatch, and (b) that educational mismatch is real but dissolves with time spent in the labour market, so that its impact on wages tends toward zero over a typical worker's career. Our findings do not support these hypotheses. First, significant differences in contemporaneous economic returns to education across match categories remain even after variations in ability are taken into account. Second, we find no evidence that the rate of wage growth is higher among overeducated workers than others. Our conclusion is that the overeducated are penalized early on by an inferior rate of return to schooling from which they do not recover.
 
Article
This paper provides estimates of inter-industry wage differentials in the Finnish private sector using a new longitudinal data source. We find about 8 percentage point industry wage differentials, even after controlling for observable human capital and job characteristics, which explain over half of the raw wage differentials between industries. Controlling further for the unobservable ability using fixed effects methods we still find statistically significant industry wage differentials in the order of 2–3 percentage points. The industry wage differentials are persistent over the period studied. Finally, interindustry wage differentials are larger in Finland than in Sweden despite apparently similar centralized wage bargaining institutions.
 
Article
This study analyzes the effects of right-wing extremism on the well-being of immigrants based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) for the years 1984 to 2006 merged with state-level information on election outcomes. The results show that the life satisfaction of immigrants is significantly reduced if right-wing extremism in the native population increases. Moreover ; the life satisfaction of highly educated immigrants is affected more strongly than that of low-skilled immigrants. This supports the view that policies aimed at making immigration more attractive to the high-skilled have to include measures that reduce xenophobic attitudes in the native population. --
 
Article
This paper employs an extremely large but comparatively under-researched dataset, the New Earnings Survey, to construct a model of female earnings in Great Britain from 1977 to 1994. This study is the first to utilise the dataset's panel nature. Unusually, the coefficients are allowed to vary flexibly over time, which allows us to study the changing structure of the labour market. We also take account of unobserved heterogeneity and occupational endogeneity. Our results show significant changes in the structure of both male and female earnings over time, particularly in the public sector, across regions and amongst those covered by collective bargains.
 
Article
Using pooled cross-sectional data from 1984–1989 and 1990–1995, two-stage (Tobit/OLS) regressions show that the penalty on male earnings for working wives, found in earlier research for British males in the early 1980's in managerial and other occupations, is not present in the second half of the 1980's and is largely reversed by the 1990's; in most occupational clusters, managers most notably, it is replaced by an earnings premium. The results are consistent with a view that increases in married women's labor force participation in Britain, coupled with positive assortative mating, have overwhelmed any forces tending to reduce male salaries when their wives work.
 
Article
This paper analyzes the effects of tax shifting in a model with union wage setting and progressive income taxation. The setup allows for different skill levels of the workforce and accounts for the union's distributional objective of income equality. The theoretical predictions of the model are empirically tested with a panel of German micro-data covering the period of the income tax reforms 1986–1990. It is shown that average taxes raise wages, whereas increasing the progressivity of the tax system reduces wages. The effect of progressivity on high-skilled labor tends to be less significant and smaller. Stronger preferences for equality compress the (pre-tax) wage distribution.
 
Article
Using Swedish employer-employee data we study job and worker flows for different educational groups, as well as the cyclicality of such flows. Due to the long period studied, from 1986 to 2002, and the widely fluctuating business cycle during this period, we have a unique opportunity to analyze the cyclical pattern of job and worker flows. We especially look at the big downturn in the Swedish economy in the beginning of the 1990s. When workers are treated as homogenous, we find job reallocation to be countercyclical. However, when we estimate correlations for different educational groups, we find job reallocation to be countercyclical for the lowest educated, and acyclical for higher educated workers. Contrary to job flows, we find worker flows to be acyclical, with a strong procyclical pattern in hiring rates, and an acyclical pattern in separation rates. When decomposing worker flows into educational groups, the acyclical pattern is prevalent for all groups, except for the highest educated. For the highest educated, worker reallocation is strongly pro-cyclical due to both more hirings and separations during up-turns.
 
Article
We examine wage mobility of Austrians, using 1986-1996 data from administrative sources. For the evaluation of wage mobility we calculate mobility measures based on transitions between quintiles in the wage distribution. A second group of indices measure wage mobility by the extent to which averaging wages over a longer period decreases cross sectional inequality. We find that mobility reduces wage inequality by 7 per cent over a six-year period. This equalising effect of wage mobility is only half as large as in other OECD countries. Considering an 11 year horizon for Austria implies a reduction of inequality of 10 per cent. Mobility is high only for young workers and for workers who changed their employer at least once during the observation period. Decomposing the sample into sex, age and worker-type groups and comparing within- and between-group mobility shows that most of the equalising effect of mobility occurs within the groups.
 
Article
Comprehensive firm-level data for Polish manufacturing show that in state-owned firms the large drop in net employment since the start of the transition in 1990 has been driven by a jump in the job destruction rate; job creation, by contrast, is located disproportionately in the private sector. Small firms are more dynamic than large firms, but even after controlling for size, private firms have a higher net employment growth rate.
 
Article
This paper uses the Italian Social Security employer-employee panel to study the effects of the Italian reform of 1990 on worker and job flows. We exploit the fact that this reform increased unjust dismissal costs for businesses below 15 employees, while leaving dismissal costs unchanged for bigger businesses, to set up a natural experiment research design. We find that the increase in dismissal costs decreased accessions and separations for workers in small relative to large firms, especially in sectors with higher employment volatility, with a negligible impact on net employment. We also find some evidence suggesting that the reform reduced firms' entry rates and employment adjustments, but had no effect on exit rates.
 
The survival curve for an average program participant. 
Swedish labor market programs.
The effect of timing. The second column shows the relative efficiency of the programs before controlling for timing, the third after controlling for tim- ing.
The relative contribution of variance from Offices and observed char- acteristics of the individuals. The columns indicate which program that is used as base. The first row indicates which program that is used as the comparison program in the estimations.
Article
We estimate the relative efficiency of eight Swedish labor market programs in reducing the unemployment duration for participants, using a rich, administrative data set of all adult unemployed workers. We find that programs in which the participants obtain subsidized work experience and training provided by firms have better outcomes than classroom vocational training. The relative efficiency is similar across demographic and skill groups, and independent of the timing of the placement. A careful examination of the assignment process to programs reveals no self-selection, but substantial administrative selection. It appears to be unrelated to the outcome, however, and should not bias the results.
 
Article
The consumption-leisure choice model implies that an exogenous change in tax rates will bring about a change in labor supply. This implication is expected to be important to labor supplied by secondary earners under a progressive tax system when spousal income alters effective marginal tax rates. This paper examines labor supply responses to the income tax changes associated with Japanese tax reforms during the 1990s. Empirical specications are presented in a way that is consistent with a life-cycle model of consumption and labor supply. A simple solution is applied to the sample-selection problem in panel data models with endogenous regressors. The results indicate that the hours-of-work elasticity with respect to the net-of-tax rate is 0.8 for married women.
 
Article
In 1993, President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Similar to the 12 states that already had maternity leave mandates, the FMLA guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for eligible mothers. I evaluate the effects of maternity leave legislation on employment and wages, taking advantage of variation created by state legislation and the FMLA. My results show that maternity leave legislation has small and statistically insignificant effects on employment and wages. Maternity leave legislation may have little effect because the mandated leave is short and unpaid and many employers provided maternity leave benefits prior to the statutes.
 
Article
The median wage in Japan has fallen nominally since 1999 due to a severe recession, while the statutory minimum wage has steadily increased over the same period. We used large micro-data sets from two government surveys to investigate how the minimum wage has affected wage distribution under the unusual circumstances of deflation. The compression of the lower tail of female wage distribution was almost completely explained by the increased real value of the minimum wage. The steady increases in the effective minimum wage reduced employment among low-skilled, young and middle-aged female workers, but the mechanical effect associated with disemployment on wage compression was minimal. These results held even after controlling for composition effects. The minimum wage contributed to the reduction in the pay gap between full-time and part-time workers.
 
Article
This paper uses longitudinal data on individuals from the European Community Household Panel over the 1996–2001 period to investigate the impact of reforms of employment protection systems in nine countries on the incidence of employment and of temporary jobs for wage and salary workers. Important features of the research design include the use of individual fixed effects models as well as the inclusion of country-specific trends in the dependent variable. A robust finding is that policies making it easier to create temporary jobs on average raise the likelihood that wage and salary workers will be in temporary jobs. This effect is felt primarily when the regional unemployment rate is relatively high. However, there is no evidence that such reforms raise employment. Thus, these reforms, while touted as a way of jump-starting individuals' careers in the job market, appear rather to encourage a substitution of temporary for permanent work.
 
Article
In this paper, we apply the method of selective matching to estimate the causal effect of organizational changes on employment, stock of capital, value added, and factor productivity. Derived from a panel of 2404 French manufacturing firms in 1997, our estimates show that work reorganization improves firm performance overall through a more efficient use of labor and capital, without requiring any increase in the factors of production.
 
Article
The inclusion of multiple race information for the first time in the 2000 Census allows for a novel test for the presence of labor discrimination using the "one-drop rule." Identifying discrimination is straightforward and essentially relies on the discontinuous nature of the one-drop rule, which treats biracial blacks similarly as monoracial blacks. If biracial blacks have levels of unmeasurable and measurable human capital that lie between the levels of monoracial blacks and whites then, absent discrimination, their wages should also lie between the wages of the two groups. Estimates from the Census indicate that biracial blacks have levels of education that lie almost perfectly between monoracial blacks and whites. In contrast, however, biracial blacks have wages that are roughly similar to monoracial blacks after controlling for education and potential work experience. Estimates from the 1980 Census also do not indicate that the parental characteristics and educational outcomes of biracial children differ from what would be expected by having both black and white parents. Several additional factors that potentially affect the human capital of biracial adults are explored. These findings provide some suggestive evidence on the "one drop rule" and the presence of discrimination in the labor market and provide new estimates of wages and educational levels of biracial blacks.
 
Article
Using the case of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, this study is the first to test the employment effects of a mega-sporting event on the basis of data that are both regional and sectoral. It is also the first study of sporting events to use a non-parametric test method. Earlier studies on the World Cup could not identify any employment effects. In contrast, we find a small but significant positive em-ployment effect on the hospitality sector and a negative effect on the construction sector. To our knowledge, this is the first time that such a crowding-out effect of public investment on the occasion of a mega-sporting event has been found in an empirical analysis.
 
Top-cited authors
Andrew Clark
  • Ecole d'économie de Paris
James Heckman
  • University of Chicago
David G. Blanchflower
  • Dartmouth College
Tim Kautz
  • Mathematica
Colm P Harmon
  • The University of Sydney