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Ralentissement de la croissance potentielle et hausse du chômage


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  • Henri Sterdyniak
  • Christine Rifflart
  • Olivier Passet


[eng] Since 1973, the industrialized countries growth has seriously slown down. In some countries (the United States, Japan), the unemployment rate has not been hited. On the contrary, unemployment has continuously increased in nearly every european countries. Consequently, what part of the growth slowdown is due to the potential output low pace of growth ? Has the equilibrium unemployment rate really increased in Europe ? Is this increase linked to the potential output slowdown ? This paper is a survey of the theoritical and empirical links between potential output and unemployment in the indutrialized countries, especially in Europe. The potential output growth may be defined as the non accelerating inflation rate level of production. Some try to estimate this output on the basis of purely statistical methods. However, other approachs using an explicit production function appear to be well better. According to this point of view, results from the international organisms imply very strong conclusions for Europe : the présent weakness of the potential output growth ( between 2.1 and 2.3 %) and a narrow output gap in 1995 ( -0.3 % for EC, -1.5 % for OECD, -2.2 % for the IMF). But thèse results underestimate the labor and capital capacities as well as technical progress. Four reasons can explain the slowdown of potential output pace. First of ail, we can assume an exogeneous drop of the technical progress (which remains largely misunderstood in spite of empirical investigations using both traditional or endogeneous growth theoritical framework). Secondly, labour market rigidities can be a proper candidate explaining how the slowdown of technical progress has pushed up the unemployment equilibrium, but not as much as observed. A third explanation can be found in a insufficient capital accumulation path, due to the weak profitability of corporate sector (but that explanation does not seem suitable to the european context). At least, actual growth can modify potential growth trend. According our perception, for a long time, actual output follows a slower path than potential output. Déflation tendancy, high level of per­sistant unemployment, limited wages increases, and healthy financial position of corporate sector provide relevant facts to assume that the ouptput shortfall is much more important that is currently admitted. So, potential output does not constraint expansion nor employment. European area appears to be suffering more from a slack demand, wich remains based on unappropriated économie policies. [fre] Depuis 1973, la croissance des pays industrialisés a fortement ralenti. Dans certains pays (Etats-Unis, Japon), le taux de chômage n'a pas été affecté. Au contraire, la quasi-totalité des pays européens ont connu une hausse tendancielle du chômage. Quelle est la part du ralentissement de la croissance qui s'explique par celui de la croissance potentielle ? Le taux de chômage d'équilibre a-t-il augmenté en Europe ? Cette augmentation est-elle une cause ou une conséquence du ralentissement de la croissance potentielle ? Cet article propose une synthèse théorique et empirique des liens entre croissance potentielle et chômage dans les pays industrialisés, et plus particulièrement en Europe. La croissance potentielle peut être définie comme le niveau maximal de production soutenante sans accélération de l'inflation. Si certains cherchent à la mesurer par des méthodes purement statistiques, seule l'approche structurelle par des fonctions de productions explicites est satisfaisante. Sa mise en œuvre par les organismes internationaux aboutit à deux conclusions fortes pour l'Europe : la faiblesse de la croissance potentielle actuelle (de 2,1 à 2,3 % l'an) et le bas niveau de l'écart de production en 1995 (-0,3 % pour la CE, -1,5 % pour l'OCDE, - 2,2 % pour le FMI). Mais ces évaluations sous-estiment les disponibilités tant en ce qui concerne le facteur travail, que le facteur capital et le progrès technique. Quatre causes peuvent être évoquées pour expliquer le ralentissement de la croissance potentielle : une baisse exogène du progrès technique (qui demeure largement inexpliquée dans les études empiriques, qu'elles soient fondées sur des modèles traditionnels de croissance ou sur les divers schémas de la théorie de la croissance endogène) ; les rigidités du marché du travail (qui expliquent que le ralentissement du progrès technique provoque une certaine hausse du chômage d'équilibre, mais celle-ci est inférieure à la hausse constatée du chômage), l'insuffisance de l'accumulation du capital (mais celle-ci n'a pas représenté une contrainte durable en Europe malgré la baisse de la profitabilité des entreprises) ; enfin, l'impact de la croissance effective sur la croissance potentielle. Selon nous, la croissance effective est en Europe depuis de nombreuses années inférieure à la croissance potentielle. L'actuel déficit de production est bien plus important que ceux couramment admis comme en témoignent la tendance à la déflation, le haut niveau de chômage, la faiblesse des hausses de salaires, la bonne situation financière des entreprises. La production potentielle n'est pas actuellement une contrainte à la croissance et à la création d'emplois en Europe. Cette zone souffre essentiellement du manque de dynamisme de sa demande, due à son incapacité à mettre en oeuvre des politiques économiques appropriées.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue de l'OFCE.

Volume (Year): 60 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 109-146

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Handle: RePEc:prs:rvofce:ofce_0751-6614_1997_num_60_1_1447

Note: DOI:10.3406/ofce.1997.1447
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  1. Lemoine, Matthieu & Mazzi, Gian Luigi & Monperrus-Veroni, Paola & Reynes, Frédéric, 2008. "Real time estimation of potential output and output gap for theeuro-area: comparing production function with unobserved componentsand SVAR approaches," MPRA Paper 13128, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Nov 2008.
  2. Frédéric Reynès & Henri Sterdyniak & Eric Heyer, 2004. "Observable and unobservable variables in the theory of the equilibrium rate of unemployment, a comparison between France and the United States," Sciences Po publications n°2004-06, Sciences Po.
  3. Bruno Ducoudré, 2005. "Fiscal policy and interest rates," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2005-08, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  4. Heyer, Eric & Reynes, Frederic & Sterdyniak, Henri, 2007. "Structural and reduced approaches of the equilibrium rate of unemployment, a comparison between France and the United States," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 42-65, January.
  5. Gian Luigi Mazzi & Frédéric Reynès & Matthieu Lemoine & Paola Veroni, 2008. "Real Time Estimation of Potential Output and Output Gap for the Euro-Area : Comparing Production Function with Unobserved Components and SVAR Approaches," Sciences Po publications 2008-34, Sciences Po.
  6. Bruno Ducoudré, 2006. "Politique monetaire, inertie des taux longs Americains et choix de portefeuille," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2006-09, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).


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