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The (un)importance of unemployment fluctuations for the welfare cost of business cycles

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  • Jung, Philip
  • Kuester, Keith

Abstract

This paper studies the cost of business cycles within a real business cycle model with search and matching frictions in the labor market. We endogenously link both the cyclical fluctuations and the mean level of unemployment to the aggregate business cycle risk. The key result of the paper is that business cycles are costly: fluctuations over the cycle induce a higher average unemployment rate since employment is nonlinear in the job-finding rate and the past unemployment rate. We show this analytically for a special case of the model. We then calibrate the model to U.S. data. For the calibrated model, too, business cycles cause higher average unemployment; the welfare cost of business cycles can easily be an order of magnitude larger than Lucas's (1987) estimate. The cost of business cycles is the higher the lower the value of nonemployment is, or, equivalently, the lower is the disutility of work. The ensuing cost of business cycles rises further when workers' skills depreciate during unemployment.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 35 (2011)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 1744-1768

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:35:y:2011:i:10:p:1744-1768

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

Related research

Keywords: Cost of business cycles Unemployment Search and matching;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jana Kremer & Nikolai Stähler, 2013. "Structural and Cyclical Effects of Tax Progression," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201305, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
  2. Jung, Philip & Kuhn, Moritz, 2012. "Earnings losses and labor mobility over the life-cycle," MPRA Paper 40287, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Tuinstra, Jan & Wegener, Michael & Westerhoff, Frank, 2013. "Positive welfare effects of trade barriers in a dynamic equilibrium model," BERG Working Paper Series 91, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
  4. Nils Gornemann & Keith Kuester & Makoto Nakajima, 2012. "Monetary policy with heterogeneous agents," Working Papers 12-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Moyen, Stéphane & Stähler, Nikolai, 2009. "Unemployment insurance and the business cycle: prolong benefit entitlements in bad times?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2009,30, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  6. Tamas Papp & Alisdair McKay, 2012. "Accounting for idiosyncratic wage risk over the business cycle," 2012 Meeting Papers 820, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Michael Reiter, 2013. "On The Welfare Costs Of Unemployment Fluctuations," 2013 Meeting Papers 962, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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