NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle

Alan B. Krueger, Jorn-Steffen Pischke

NBER Working Paper No. 6146
Issued in August 1997
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper has three goals; first, to place U.S. job growth in international perspective by exploring cross-country differences in employment and population growth. This section finds that the U.S. has managed to absorb added workers -- especially female workers -- into employment at a greater rate than most countries. The leading explanation for this phenomenon is that the U.S. labor market has flexible wages and employment practices, whereas European labor markets are rigid. The second goal of the paper is to evaluate the labor market rigidities hypothesis. Although greater wage flexibility probably contributes to the U.S.'s comparative success in creating jobs for its population, the slow growth in employment in many European countries appears too uniform across skill groups to result from relative wage inflexibility alone. Furthermore, a great deal of labor market adjustment seems to take place at a constant real wage in the U.S. This leads to the third goal: to speculate on other explanations why the U.S. has managed to successfully absorb so many new entrants to the labor market. We conjecture that product market constraints contribute to the slow growth of employment in many countries.

download in pdf format
   (918 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (918 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6146

Published:

  • Third Public GAAC Symposium: Labor Markets in the USA and Germany, Bonn, Germany: GAAC, 1998, pp. 99-126. ,
  • Excerpt reprinted in Wirtschafts Politsche Blatter, Vol. 3 (January 1999): 259-267.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Card, Kramarz, and Lemieux w5487 Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France
Card w14683 Immigration and Inequality
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us