Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 00-63




Using panel data on U.S. MSAs, this paper estimates how a typical MSA's wages of different demographic groups, and prices, are affected by overall MSA unemployment, the distribution of unemployment among different groups, and national prices and wages. MSA unemployment has strong effects on MSA wages and prices, but the distribution of unemployment among different groups has weak effects on wages and prices. Using these estimates, simulations show that targeting high-unemployment groups for unemployment reductions will not reduce wage or price inflation pressures. The estimates also show that the effects of MSA unemployment on prices and disadvantaged groups' wages are greater (in absolute value) at lower unemployment rates. As a result, simulations using these estimates suggest that national unemployment can be reduced with less inflationary pressures by targeting unemployment reductions at MSAs with high unemployment.

Issue Date

September 2000


Financially supported by the Upjohn Institute, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Job security and unemployment dynamics


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Bartik, Timothy J. 2000. "Group Wage Curves." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 00-63. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.