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Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle


Alan B. Krueger


Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Jörn-Steffen Pischke


London School of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

August 1997

NBER Working Paper No. w6146

Abstract:     
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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

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Date posted: July 20, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Alan B. and Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle (August 1997). NBER Working Paper No. w6146. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=225909

Contact Information

Alan B. Krueger (Contact Author)
Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )
Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Jörn-Steffen (Steve) Pischke
London School of Economics ( email )
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
+44 207 955 6509 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7595 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
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