Essays on credit and labour market frictions
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The financial crisis of 2008 was characterized by disruptions in credit markets and sharp rises in unemployment. This dissertation contributes to our understanding of the interaction of credit and labour markets. The first chapter studies the impact of credit frictions on labour demand given that the labour market is frictionless. The second chapter introduces search and matching to the labour market and studies the interaction between the two types of frictions. The third chapter investigates wages determined by surplus sharing between firms and workers in the environment with search and credit frictions. In Chapter 1 I develop a partial equilibrium model where homogenous firms face credit frictions in the form of collateral constraints. As a result of these frictions firms' demand for capital depends on their net worth. Firms hire workers in the frictionless labour market with an upward-sloping labour supply curve. The model generates a large, although short-lived, response of capital demand to a negative productivity shock. Through complementarity of factors of production the decrease in capital affects employment and wages. As a result of a one standard deviation negative productivity shock employment falls by around 0.65% and wages fall by around 1.3% as opposed to 0.11% and 0.25%, respectively, in the first-best economy. I also find that changing capital and labour supply elasticities have different implications in the presence of credit frictions compared to the first-best economy. Chapter 2 extends Chapter 1 by introducing search frictions to the labour side of the economy. On one hand, when buying capital firms have to deal with the credit frictions outlined above. On the other hand, when hiring workers they face standard search and matching frictions. I then study the interaction of the two frictions. Credit frictions affect labour demand through complementarity of capital and labour. Search frictions influence capital demand through wages: When wages are only partially flexible, the decline in firms' net worth is larger, and the resulting fall in capital is larger as well. I also find that the response of wages to wage flexibility is non-monotonic in the presence of credit frictions. This could potentially explain why we see wages fall little in data. In Chapter 3 I use a model of search and credit frictions developed in Chapter 2 to investigate wages determined by surplus sharing in such environment. I find that credit frictions affect the surplus-sharing mechanism in such a way that they increase the worker's effective bargaining power. That is, the firm and the worker negotiate wages as if the worker had a higher bargaining power. This is due to the fact that under search and credit frictions the firm values workers more that under pure search frictions because output they produce increases the firm's net worth. However, the effective worker's bargaining power appears to be endogenous to the firm's capital holdings and the number of employees. The more capital the firm has, the less the firm is financially constrained, and the lower wages its workers are able to extract. Due to endogeneity of the worker's effective bargaining power, the effect of credit frictions on wages is ambiguous.