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Productivity and the Natural Rate of Unemployment

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  • Jiri Slacalek

Abstract

I propose an econometric model that improves upon existing methods of estimating the natural rate of unemployment (NAIRU) by using information contained in the trend of productivity growth. My approach enhances the recently proposed model of Staiger, Stock and Watson (1997) in several respects. Statistically speaking, the method substantially shrinks the width of the 95% confidence interval, performs better in an out-of-sample inflation forecasting exercise, and is more robust to alternativestatistical assumptions. In economic terms, the productivity-augmented model generates a more realistic time profile of the NAIRU, and implies estimates of the Phillipscurve slope and the sacrifice ratio that are more in line with conventional wisdom. I also test whether the natural rate is correlated with the level or with the change of the productivity growth trend. I find support for the "level" hypothesis in both the US and international data.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.42776.de/dp461.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 461.

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Length: 35 p.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp461

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Keywords: Natural rate of unemployment; Productivity; Phillips curve; Time-varying parameters; Kalman filter;

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References

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  1. Steven Braun, 1984. "Productivity and the NIIRU (and other Phillips curve issues)," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Forecasting Inflation," NBER Working Papers 7023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1.
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1994. "Growth and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 477-94, July.
  5. Robert J. Gordon, 1996. "The Time-Varying NAIRU and its Implications for Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 5735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael Woodford, 1994. "Structural Slumps," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1784-1815, December.
  7. Laurence Ball, 1994. "What Determines the Sacrifice Ratio?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 155-193 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Laurence Ball & Robert Moffitt, 2001. "Productivity Growth and the Phillips Curve," Economics Working Paper Archive 450, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  9. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information: A Model of Monetary Nonneutrality and Structural Slumps," NBER Working Papers 8614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
  11. Thomas Laubach, 2001. "Measuring The NAIRU: Evidence From Seven Economies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 218-231, May.
  12. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1998. "Technological Progress, Job Creation and Job Destruction," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(4), pages 733-753, October.
  14. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
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Cited by:
  1. Eric Heyer, 2010. "Efficacité de la politique économique et position dans le cycle: le cas de la défiscalisation des heures supplémentaires en France," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2010-26, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).

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