NBER Working Papers by Erica Groshen

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Working Papers

February 2006Turbulent Firms, Turbulent Wages?
with Diego Comin, Bess Rabin: w12032
Has greater turbulence among firms fueled rising wage instability in the U.S.? Gottschalk and Moffitt ([1994]) find that rising earnings instability was responsible for one third to one half of the rise in wage inequality during the 1980s. These growing transitory fluctuations remain largely unexplained. To help fill this gap, this paper further documents the recent rise in transitory fluctuations in compensation and investigates its linkage to the concurrent rise in volatility of firm performance documented by Comin and Mulani [2005] among others. After examining models that explain the relationship between firm and wage volatility, we investigate the linkage in three complementary panel data sets, each with its own virtues and limitations: the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (detailed inf...
January 2000Understanding Inflation: Implications for Monetary Policy
with Stephen G. Cecchetti: w7482
This paper discusses how optimal monetary policy is affected by differences in the combination of shocks an economy experiences and the rigidities it exhibits. Without both nominal rigidities and economic shocks, monetary policy would be irrelevant. Recognizing this, policymakers increasingly incorporate the understanding gained from new research on rigidities and shocks into both their policy actions and the design of monetary institutions. Specifically, shocks can be predominantly real, affecting relative prices, or primarily nominal, moving the general price level. They may also be big or small, frequent or rare. Similarly, some nominal rigidities are symmetrical, affecting both upward and downward movements equally, while others are asymmetrical, restricting decreases more than increa...
June 1997Identifying Inflation's Grease and Sand Effects in the Labor Market
with Mark E. Schweitzer: w6061
Inflation has been accused of causing distortionary price and wage fluctuations (sand) as well as lauded for facilitating adjustments to shocks when wages are rigid downwards (grease). This paper investigates whether these two effects can be distinguished from each other in a labor market by the following identification strategy: inflation-induced deviations among employers' mean wage changes represent unintended intramarket distortions (sand), while inflation-induced, inter-occupational wage changes reflect intended alignments with intermarket forces (grease). Using a unique 40-year panel of wage changes made by large mid-western employers, we find a wide variety of evidence to support the identification strategy. We also find some indications that occupational wages in large firms gaine...
April 1993Do Hostile Takeovers Reduce Extramarginal Wage Payments?
with Jagadeesh Gokhale, David Neumark: w4346
Hostile takeovers may reduce the prevalence of long-term employment contracts if they facilitate the opportunistic expropriation of extramarginal wage payments. Our tests of two versions of the expropriation hypothesis improve on existing research by using firm- and establishment-level data from an employer salary survey, and by performing both ex ante and ex post tests. First, we study the relationship between proxies for extramarginal wage payments and subsequent hostile takeover activity, and find little evidence of an expropriation motive. Then. since we observe wage and employment structures both before and after takeovers. we investigate whether proxies for extramarginal wages drop after hostile takeovers. The ex post experiments provide evidence consistent with one version of the ex...

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