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How Sticky Wages in Existing Jobs Can Affect Hiring

Mark Bils, Yongsung Chang, and Sun-Bin Kim
CQER Working Paper 14-04
August 2014

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We consider a matching model of employment with wages that are flexible for new hires, but that are sticky within matches. We depart from standard treatments of sticky wages by allowing worker effort to respond to the wage being too high or low. Shimer (2004) and others have illustrated that employment in the Mortensen-Pissarides model does not depend on the degree of wage flexibility in existing matches. But that is not true in our model. If wages of matched workers are stuck too high in a recession, then firms will require more effort, lowering the value of additional labor and reducing new hiring.

JEL classification: E32, E24, J22

Key words: unemployment, sticky wages, effort


The authors thank Corina Boar for her excellent research assistance. For helpful comments the authors especially thank Marianna Kudlyak and Jose Mustre-del-Rio. The views expressed here are the authors' and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the authors' responsibility.

Please address questions regarding content to Mark Bils, University of Rochester and NBER, Department of Economics, Rochester, New York 14627, 585-275-0488, mark.bils@rochester.edu; Yongsung Chang, University of Rochester and Yonsei University, Department of Economics, Rochester, New York 14627, 585-275-1871, yongsung.chang@rochester.edu; or Sun-Bin Kim, Yonsei University, Department of Economics, Shinchon-dong Seodaemoon-gu, Seoul, Korea 120-749, 82-2-2123-2467, sunbin.kim@yonsei.ac.kr.

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