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The Challenge of High Unemployment

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  • Blinder, Alan S

Abstract

It is argued that policymakers, macroeconomists and microeconomists should all take high unemployment more seriously. The shortcomings of existing theories of unemployment are discussed, and a new definition of involuntary unemployment is proposed. A model is sketched in which falling aggregate demand leads to "Keynesian" unemployment because labor is heterogeneous and relative wages matter. Microeconomic theory is criticized for assuming away unemployment and, in the process, radically changing the answers to some basic questions in trade theory and public finance. Finally, some speculative explanations are offered for the low unemployment now found in states like New Jersey and Massachusetts.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 78 (1988)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 1-15

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:78:y:1988:i:2:p:1-15

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  1. Michael H. Riordan & Robert W. Staiger, 1988. "Sectoral Shocks and Structural Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 2522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan S. Blinder, 1981. "Retail Inventory Behavior and Business Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(2), pages 443-520.
  3. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  4. Brecher, Richard A, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116, February.
  5. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1987. "Why Does Money Affect Output? A Survey," Working papers 453, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Working Papers 1950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Avner Bar-Ilan & Alan S. Blinder, 1987. "Consumer Durables and the Optimality of Usually Doing Nothing," NBER Working Papers 2488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Altonji, Joseph & Ashenfelter, Orley, 1980. "Wage Movements and the Labour Market Equilibrium Hypothesis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 217-45, August.
  9. Dixit, Avinash, 1976. "Public finance in a Keynesian temporary equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 242-258, April.
  10. Alan S. Blinder, 1986. "Keynes after Lucas," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 209-216, Jul-Sep.
  11. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  13. James M. Poterba & Julio J. Rotemberg & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Tax-Based Test for Nominal Rigidities," NBER Working Papers 1627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203, April.
  15. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Why is the Unemployment Rate So Very High near Full Employment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 339-396.
  16. Geary, Patrick T & Kennan, John, 1982. "The Employment-Real Wage Relationship: An International Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 854-71, August.
  17. Kiefer, Nicholas M & Neumann, George R, 1979. "An Empirical Job-Search Model, with a Test of the Constant Reservation-Wage Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(1), pages 89-107, February.
  18. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  19. Laurence M. Ball & David Romer, 1987. "Are Prices Too Sticky?," NBER Working Papers 2171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-38, May.
  21. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  22. 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.
  23. Gordon, Robert J, 1988. "The Role of Wages in the Inflation Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 276-83, May.
  24. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "A Near-rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Intertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 823-38, Supp..
  25. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1980. "Factor Market Dynamics and the Incidence of Taxes and Subsidies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 751-64, December.
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