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Temporary Shocks and Unavoidable Transitions to a High-Unemployment Regime

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  • Den Haan, Wouter

Abstract

This Paper develops a model with multiple steady states (low tax and low unemployment versus high tax and high unemployment) in which equilibrium selection is not conditioned on a sunspot variable. Instead, large temporary shocks initiate unavoidable transitions from one steady state to another. Tax policies have huge effects in some cases. In particular, it is possible that the transition to the high-unemployment steady state after a negative shock can be avoided if the government borrows to finance unemployment benefits, and in some cases it is even possible that a credible permanent tax cut would force the economy out of the high-unemployment steady state. The model is used to explain the high European unemployment rates in the 80’s and 90’s. The Paper argues that the increase in unemployment during the 70’s played a key role because it led to an increase in the obligation to pay unemployment benefits. The implied tax burden was so big that the transition to the high-unemployment regime was the unique equilibrium outcome.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3704.

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Date of creation: Jan 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3704

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Related research

Keywords: fiscal policy; matching model; multiple equilibria; sunspots; tax burden; unemployment benefits;

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References

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  1. Ardagna, Silvia & Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2002. "Fiscal Policy, Profits, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 3353756, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Marco Bassetto, 2002. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Working Papers 624, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Schiantarelli, Fabio & Perotti, Roberto & Ardagna, Silvia & Alesina, Alberto, 2002. "Fiscal Policy, Profits, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4685103, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2001. "Rethinking Multiple Equilibria in Macroeconomic Modeling," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 139-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daveri, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Steve Nickell & Jan van Ours, 2000. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom: a European unemployment miracle?," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 135-180, 04.
  7. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 178, Stockholm School of Economics.
  8. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 1999. "Job Destruction and the Experiences of Displaced Workers," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1rd0w96t, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  9. Lindbeck, Assar, 1996. "The West European Employment Problem," Working Paper Series 466, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  10. repec:fth:iniesr:466 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Christian Haefke, 2001. "Shocks and institutions in a job matching model," Economics Working Papers 568, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2001.
  12. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2000. "Liquidity Flows and Fragility of Business Enterprises," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt2kc182ts, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  13. Ramon Marimon & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1997. "Unemployment vs. mismatch of talents: Reconsidering unemployment benefits," Economics Working Papers 211, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  14. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Fiscal Increasing Returns, Hysteresis, Real Wages and Unemployment," Working papers 429, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  16. Assar Lindbeck, 1996. "The West European employment problem," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 132(4), pages 609-637, December.
  17. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-65, April.
  18. Cooper, R. & Corbae, D., 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," Working Papers 97-08, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  19. Farmer, Roger E A, 1997. "Money in a Real Business Cycle Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 568-611, November.
  20. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1998. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0407, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  21. Novales, Alfonso & Ruiz, Jesus, 2002. "Dynamic Laffer curves," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 181-206, December.
  22. Garey Ramey & Wouter J. den Haan & Joel Watson, 2000. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 482-498, June.
  23. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents," Papers 661, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  24. Bryant, John, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-Type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-28, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Xabier Raurich & Hector Sala & Valeri Sorolla, 2005. "Unemployment, growth and fiscal policy: new insights on the hysteresis hypothesis," Working Papers 0502, International Economics Institute, University of Valencia.
  2. Ascari, Guido & Rankin, Neil, 2007. "Perpetual youth and endogenous labor supply: A problem and a possible solution," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 708-723, December.
  3. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ortigueira, Salvador, 2006. "Skills, search and the persistence of high unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2165-2178, November.

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