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Okun’s law over the business cycle: was the great recession all that different?

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  • Owyang, Michael T.
  • Sekhposyan, Tatevik

Abstract

In 1962, Arthur Okun posited an empirical relationship between the change in the unemployment rate and real output growth. Since then, the media, policymakers, pundits, and intermediate macro students have used the so-called Okun’s law as a rule of thumb to relate changes in unemployment to changes in output growth. However, some studies have suggested that the relationship has not been stable over time. Furthermore, the slow recovery of U.S. unemployment relative to output after the Great Recession has led some to question whether Okun’s law has changed permanently. In this light, the authors reconsider the evidence on instability in Okun’s law and, in particular, examine whether the Great Recession has contributed to the breakdown of the empirical relationship.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): Sep ()
Pages: 399-418

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2012:i:september:p:399-418:n:v.94no.5

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Related research

Keywords: Business cycles; Recessions; Full employment policies;

References

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  1. Edward S. Knotek & II, 2007. "How useful is Okun's law?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 73-103.
  2. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Trabrandt, Mathias & Walentin, Karl, 2010. "Involuntary Unemployment and the Business Cycle," Working Paper Series 238, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden), revised 01 Jun 2012.
  3. Clifford L. F. Attfield & Brian Silverstone, 1997. "Okun's Coefficient: A Comment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 326-329, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Albers, Scott, 2013. "Okun’s Law as a Pi-to-1 ratio: A harmonic / trigonometric theory as to why Okun’s Law works," MPRA Paper 46633, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Menzie D. Chinn & Laurent Ferrara & Valérie Mignon, 2013. "Post-recession US Employment through the Lens of a Non-linear Okun’s law," NBER Working Papers 19047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rui M. Pereira, 2013. "Okun's Law across the Business Cycle and during the Great Recession: A Markov Switching Analysis," Working Papers 139, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  4. Laurence M. Ball & Daniel Leigh & Prakash Loungani, 2013. "Okun's Law: Fit at Fifty?," NBER Working Papers 18668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rui Pereira, 2014. "Okun’s law, asymmetries and regional spillovers: evidence from Virginia metropolitan statistical areas and the District of Columbia," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 583-595, March.
  6. Roger, Perman & Gaetan, Stephan & Christophe, Tavéra, 2013. "Okun’s law – A meta analysis," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-59, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  7. Ryan W Herzog, 2013. "An Analysis of Okun's Law, the Natural Rate, and Voting Preferences for the 50 States," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(4), pages 2504-2517.
  8. Michelle L. Barnes & Fabià Gumbau-Brisa & Giovanni P. Olivei, 2013. "Do real-time Okun's law errors predict GDP data revisions?," Working Papers 13-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Oberst, Christian & Oelgemöller, Jens, 2013. "Economic Growth and Regional Labor Market Development in German Regions: Okun’s Law in a Spatial Context," FCN Working Papers 5/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  10. Albers, Scott & Albers, Andrew L., 2013. "Does “Okun’s Law” state a Pi:1 ratio? Toward a harmonic interpretation of why Okun’s Law works," MPRA Paper 44843, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Albers, Scott, 2013. "Of Jane Austen and the secret life of econometric quantities, or as otherwise entitled on Okun's Law and the 'multiplicative inverse surprise'," MPRA Paper 44594, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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