Do labour supply and demand curves exist?

Article English OPEN
Fleetwood, S. (2014)
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Journal: Cambridge Journal of Economics, volume 38, issue 5, pages 1,087-1,113
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1093/cje/beu003

The objective of this paper is to show that circumstantial and empirical evidence for the existence of labour supply and demand curves is at best inconclusive and at worst casts doubt on their existence. Because virtually all orthodox models of labour markets, simple and complex, are built upon the foundation stones of labour supply and demand curves, these models lack empirically supported foundations. Orthodox labour economists must, therefore, either provide stronger evidence or stop using labour supply and demand curves as the foundation stones of their models. The conclusion discusses implications for future orthodox and heterodox labour economics.
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