The Financial Channel of Wage Rigidity
I propose a financial channel of wage rigidity. In recessions, rigid average wages squeeze cash flows, forcing firms to cut hiring due to financial constraints. Indeed, empirical cash flows and profits would turn acyclical if wages were only moderately more procyclical. I study this channel in a search and matching model with financial constraints and wage rigidity among incumbent workers (but flexible new hires’ wages). While neither feature generates amplification individually, their interaction can account for much of the empirical labor market fluctuations—breaking the neutrality of incumbents’ wages for hiring, and showing that financial amplification of business cycles requires wage rigidity.