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Unemployment Rate Dynamics and Persistent Unemployment under Rational Expectations

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  • Darby, Michael R
  • Haltiwanger, John C
  • Plant, Mark W

Abstract

This paper develops a model of unemployment rate dynamics that provides an explanation of persistent cyclical unemployment that does not involve persistent expectational errors or other nonoptimizing behavior. Our results are based on the interaction of search dynamics and inventory adjustments. An important element in these dynamics appears to be heterogeneity in the labor force which can be characterized as consisting of a relatively small group of high turnover individuals who comprise the bulk of normal unemployment and a larger group of low turnover individuals who dominate movements in cyclical unemployment. Our empirical results provide support for this theory as we demonstrate that the appropriately measured probability of becoming employed during a recovery falls relative to normal because of the unusually high proportion of low turnover individuals who have lost "permanent" jobs. As aresult, recovery is much slower than is indicated by normal relationships although each individual is searching optimally.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 75 (1985)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 614-37

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:75:y:1985:i:4:p:614-37

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  1. Darby, Michael R, 1972. "The Allocation of Transitory Income Among Consumers' Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 928-41, December.
  2. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
  3. Jack Carr & Michael R. Darby, 1980. "The Role of Money Supply Shocks in the Short-Run Demand for Money," NBER Working Papers 0524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Haltiwanger & Louis Maccini, 1984. "A Model of Inventory and Layoff Behavior Under Uncertainty," UCLA Economics Working Papers 321, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Barron, John M, 1975. "Search in the Labor Market and the Duration of Unemployment: Some Empirical Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 934-42, December.
  6. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1982. "The Production and Inventory Behavior of the American Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 0891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Akerlof, George A & Main, Brian G M, 1980. "Unemployment Spells and Unemployment Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 885-93, December.
  8. Howitt, Peter, 1985. "Transaction Costs in the Theory of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 88-100, March.
  9. McCallum, Bennett T, 1979. "On the Observational Inequivalence of Classical and Keynesian Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-402, April.
  10. Salant, Stephen W, 1977. "Search Theory and Duration Data: A Theory of Sorts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-57, February.
  11. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
  12. Hall, Robert E, 1982. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 716-24, September.
  13. Robert J. Barro, 1976. "Unanticipated Money Growth and Unemployment in the United States," Working Papers 234, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  14. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Temporary Layoffs in the Theory of Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 937-57, October.
  15. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
  16. Michael L. Wachter, 1976. "The Changing Cyclical Responsiveness of Wage Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(1), pages 115-168.
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