Joseph Zeira

Department of Economics
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mt. Scopus
Jerusalem 91905
Tel: 972 2 5883256
Fax: 972 2 5816071


NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2015Technology and Labor Regulations: Theory and Evidence
with Alberto Alesina, Michele Battisti: w20841
This paper shows that different labor market policies can lead to differences in technology across sectors in a model of labor saving technologies. Labor market regulations reduce the skill premium and as a result, if technologies are labor saving, countries with more stringent labor regulation, which are binding for low skilled workers, become less technologically advanced in their high-skilled sectors, and more technologically advanced in their low-skilled sectors. We then present data on capital output ratios, on estimated productivity levels and on patent creation, which support the predictions of our model.
October 2006Technology and Labor Regulations
with Alberto Alesina: w12581
Many low skilled jobs have been substituted away for machines in Europe, or eliminated, much more so than in the US, while technological progress at the "top", i.e. at the high-tech sector, is faster in the US than in Europe. This paper suggests that the main difference between Europe and the US in this respect is their different labor market policies. European countries reduce wage flexibility and inequality through a host of labor market regulations, like binding minimum wage laws, permanent unemployment subsidies, firing costs, etc. Such policies create incentives to develop and adopt labor saving capital intensive technologies at the low end of the skill distribution. At the same time technical change in the US is more skill biased than in Europe, since American skilled wages are high...
April 2000The Timing of Purchases and Aggregate Fluctuations
with John V. Leahy: w7672
This paper analyzes how the decision of when to buy a durable good affects both non-durable consumption and business cycle dynamics. At the individual level, we show that the timing of durable goods purchases plays an important role in smoothing consumption over time. In the benchmark case, the time at which the agent purchases the durable good is the only variable that reacts to changes in wealth, while other variables, such as the consumption of non-durables or the amount of the durable that the individual purchases, remain unchanged. At the aggregate level, we show that timing decisions can serve as a mechanism for the amplification and propagation of aggregate shocks. A decline in wealth causes individuals to delay their durable goods purchases which reduces demand dramatically for...

Published: Published as "Sectoral Shocks, Learning, and Aggregate Fluctuations", Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 60, no. 205 (1993): 777-794. citation courtesy of

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