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2010 Documento de Trabajo #272

Labor force heterogeneity: implications for the relation between aggregate volatility and government size

There is substantial evidence of a negative correlation between government size and output volatility. We put forward the hypothesis that large governments stabilize output fluctuations because in economies with high tax rates the share of total market hours supplied by demographic groups exhibiting a more volatile labor supply is lower.This hypothesis is motivated by the observation that employment volatility is larger for young workers than for prime aged workers, and that the share of hours worked by the young workers is lower in countries with high tax rates. This paper illustrates these empirical facts and assesses in a calibrated model their quantitative importance for the relation between government size and macroeconomic stability.

Alexandre Janiak
Paulo Santos Monteiro