labor, wage rate, GDP, production, employment, unemployment, labor market, potential GDP, equilibrium, demand, production function, illustrates, marginal product, cost.Summary:
In 2001, each hour of work produced twice as much output as in 1961.
And how can output per hour increase even during a recession, as in 2001?
What are the connections between capital accumulation, education, and technical change with employment, earnings, and potential GDP?
What determines the level of unemployment at full employment?
The production possibility frontier (PPF) is the boundary between those combinations of goods and services that can be produced and those that cannot.
The more leisure time forgone, the greater is the quantity of labor employed and the greater is the real GDP.
The PPF showing the relationship between leisure time and real GDP is bowed out, which indicates an increasing opportunity cost.
Opportunity cost is increasing because the most productive labor is used first and as more labor is used it is increasingly less productive.
The production function is the relationship between real GDP and the quantity of labor employed, other things remaining the same.
One more hour of labor employed means one less hour of leisure, therefore the production function is the mirror image of the leisure time-real GDP PPF.
Figure 7.1(b) illustrates the production function that corresponds to the PPF shown in Figure 7.1(a).
Along the production function, an increase in labor hours brings an increase in real GDP.
Labor productivity is real GDP per hour of labor.
Human capital is the knowledge and skill that has been acquired from education and on-the-job training.
Learning-by-doing is the activity of on-the-job education that can greatly increase labor productivity.
Any influence that increases labor productivity increases real GDP at each level of labor hours and shifts the production function upward.
An increase in physical capital, human capital, or a technological advance all increase labor productivity.
The production function shifts upward from PF0 to PF1.
The quantity of labor demanded is the labor hours hired by all firms in the economy.
The demand for labor is the relationship between the quantity of labor demanded and the real wage rate, other things remaining the same.
The real wage rate is the quantity of goods and services that an hour of labor earns.
The money wage rate is the number of dollars an hour of labor earns.
The demand for labor depends on the marginal product of labor, which is the additional real GDP produced by an additional hour of labor when all other influences on production remain the same.
The marginal product of labor is governed by the law of diminishing returns, which states that as the quantity of labor increases, but the quantity of capital and technology remain the same, the marginal product of labor decreases.
We calculate the marginal product of labor as the change in real GDP divided by the change in the quantity of labor employed.
Figure 7.4 shows the calculation of the marginal product of labor and illustrates the relationship between the marginal product curve and the production function.
A 100 billion hour increase in labor from 100 to 200 billion hours brings a $4 trillion increase in real GDP---the marginal product of labor is $40 an hour.
A 100 billion hour increase in labor from 200 to 300 billion hours brings a $3 trillion increase in real GDP---the marginal product of labor is $30 an hour.
The marginal product of labor curve is the demand for labor curve.
Firms hire more labor as long as the marginal product of labor exceeds the real wage rate.
With the diminishing marginal product of labor, the extra output from an extra hour of labor is exactly what the extra hour of labor costs, i.e., the real wage rate.
At this point, the profit-maximizing firm hires no more labor.
The quantity of labor supplied is the number of labor hours that all the households in the economy plan to work at a given real wage rate.
The supply of labor is the relationship between the quantity of labor supplied and the real wage rate, all other things remaining the same.
Figure 7.5 illustrates a labor supply curve.
The higher the real wage rate, the greater is the quantity of labor supplied.
Hours per person increase because the real wage rate is the opportunity cost of not working.
But a higher real wage rate increases income, which increases the demand for normal goods, including leisure.
An increase in the quantity of leisure demanded means a decrease in the quantity of labor supplied.
The opportunity cost effect is usually greater than the income effect, so a rise in the real wage rate brings an increase in the quantity of labor supplied.
Labor force participation increases because higher real wage rates induce some people who choose not to work at lower real wage rates to enter the labor force.
The labor supply response to an increase in the real wage rate is positive but small.
A large percentage increase in the real wage rate brings a small percentage increase in the quantity of labor supplied.
The labor supply curve is relatively steep.
The labor market is in equilibrium at the real wage rate at which the quantity of labor demanded equals the quantity of labor supplied.
The level of real GDP at full employment is potential GDP.
Labor market equilibrium occurs at a real wage rate of $35 and an employment of 200 billion labor hours.
At a full employment level of 200 billion hours, potential GDP is 10 trillion dollars.
The long-run aggregate supply curve is the relationship between the quantity of real GDP supplied and the price level when real GDP equals potential GDP.
The short-run aggregate supply curve is the relationship between the quantity of real GDP supplied and the price level when the money wage rate and potential GDP remain constant.
Figure 7.7 illustrates the long-run and short-run aggregate supply curves (LAS and SAS).
LAS is a vertical line at potential GDP.
As the price level changes, the money wage also changes to keep the real wage rate at the full-employment equilibrium level.
With no change in the real wage rate, there is no change in real GDP.
Along the SAS curve, as the price level rises, the money wage remains the same, so the real wage rate falls.
As the real wage rate falls, the quantity of labor demanded increases and real GDP increases.
As the price level falls, the money wage remains the same, so the real wage rate rises.
As the real wage rate rises, the quantity of labor demanded decreases and real GDP decreases.
When the economy is above potential GDP, the real wage rate is lower than the equilibrium real wage rate.
When the economy is below potential GDP, the real wage rate is greater than the equilibrium real wage rate.
Production is efficient in the sense that the economy is on its PPF, but is inefficient in the sense that the economy is not at a sustainable point on the PPF.
The sustainable point on the PPF is at the full-employment equilibrium.
An increase in population increases the supply of labor.
The equilibrium real wage rate falls and the equilibrium quantity of labor increases.
The increase in the equilibrium quantity of labor increases potential GDP.
The potential GDP per hour of work decreases.
An increase in labor productivity shifts the production function upward and increases the demand for labor.
The equilibrium real wage rate, quantity of labor, and potential GDP all increase.
Population and productivity in the United States have increased over time.
The working-age population increased from 170 million to 212 million--a 25 percent increase.
Population and productivity in the United States have increased over time.
Technology advanced---most notably the information revolution and the widespread computerization of production processes.
The percentage increase in labor hours exceeded the percentage increase in the population because the increase in capital and technological advances increased labor productivity, which increased the real wage rate, which in turn increased the labor force participation rate.
Potential GDP increased from $5 trillion a year to $9.3 trillion a year.
The unemployment rate at full employment is called the natural rate of unemployment.
Job search is the activity of workers looking for an acceptable vacant job.
All unemployed workers search for new jobs, and while they search many are unemployed.
Figure 7.11 illustrates the relationship between the amount of job search unemployment and the real wage rate.
As more young workers entered the labor force in the 1970s, the amount of frictional unemployment increased as they searched for jobs.
Frictional unemployment may have fallen in the 1980s as those workers aged.
Two-earner households may increase search, because one member can afford to search longer if the other has an income.
The more generous unemployment benefit payments become, the lower the opportunity cost of unemployment, so the longer workers search for better employment rather than any job.
More workers are covered now by unemployment insurance than before, and the payments are relatively more generous.
An increase in the pace of technological change that reallocates jobs between industries or regions increases the amount of search.
Job rationing occurs when employed workers are paid a wage that creates an excess supply of labor.
An efficiency wage is a real wage rate that is set above the full-employment equilibrium wage that balances the costs and benefits of this higher wage rate to maximize the firm's profit.
The cost of a higher wage is direct.
The benefit of a higher wage is indirect: it enables a firm to attract high-productivity workers, stimulates greater work effort, lowers the quit rate, and lowers recruiting costs.
A minimum wage is the lowest wage rate at which a firm may legally hire labor.
If the minimum wage is set below the equilibrium wage rate, it has no effect.
If the minimum wage is set above the equilibrium wage rate, it does affect the labor market.
If the real wage rate is above the equilibrium wage, regardless of the reason, there is a surplus of labor that adds to unemployment and increases the natural unemployment rate.
Most economists agree that efficiency wages and minimum wages increase the natural unemployment rate.
David Card and Alan Krueger have challenged this view and argue that an increase in the minimum wage works like an efficiency wage, making workers more productive and less likely to quit.