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What Caused the Recession of 2008? Hints from Labor Productivity

Author: Casey Mulligan
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. National Bureau of Economic Research 2009.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. w14729.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
A labor market tautology says that any change in labor usage can be decomposed into a movement along a marginal productivity schedule and a shift of the schedule. I calculate this decomposition for the recession of 2008, assuming an aggregate Cobb-Douglas marginal productivity schedule, and find that all of the decline in employment and hours since December 2007 is a movement along the schedule. This finding  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Casey Mulligan
OCLC Number: 1027382547
Notes: February 2009.
Description: 1 online resource.
Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. w14729.
Responsibility: Casey Mulligan.

Abstract:

A labor market tautology says that any change in labor usage can be decomposed into a movement along a marginal productivity schedule and a shift of the schedule. I calculate this decomposition for the recession of 2008, assuming an aggregate Cobb-Douglas marginal productivity schedule, and find that all of the decline in employment and hours since December 2007 is a movement along the schedule. This finding suggests that a reduction in labor supply and/or an increase in labor market distortions are major factors in the 2008 recession. The decline in aggregate consumption suggests that the reduction in labor supply (if any) is neither a wealth nor an intertemporal substitution effect. "Sticky real wages" or the emergence of significant work disincentives are possible explanations for these findings.

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