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Finance and Economics Discussion Series
The Finance and Economics Discussion Series logo links to FEDS home page Movements of Wages over the Business Cycle: An Intra-Firm View
Beth Anne Wilson

Abstract: This paper tests the hypothesis that firms adjust to the business cycle by altering employment through promotion and hiring and holding the salary structure and salaries assigned to jobs relatively constant. Two comprehensive firm-level panel datasets are used to examine salary setting and worker movement within firms. The salary structure is found to be rigid whereas promotion rates are cyclically sensitive. In contrast to the hypothesis, wage cyclicality in these two firms is driven by changes in salaries associated with jobs rather than by worker movement. An additional finding is that salaries in the two firms are countercyclical.

Keywords: Wage cyclicality, firm-level data

Full paper (736 KB PDF)

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Last update: July 16, 1997