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The Output Gap, the Labor Wedge, and the Dynamic Behavior of Hours

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  • Luca Sala
  • Ulf Soderstrom
  • Antonella Trigari

Abstract

We use a standard quantitative business cycle model with nominal price and wage rigidities to estimate two measures of economic inefficiency in recent U.S. data: the output gap - the gap between the actual and effcient levels of output - and the labor wedge|the wedge between households' marginal rate of substitution and firms' marginal product of labor. We establish three results. (i ) The output gap and the labor wedge are closely related, suggesting that most inefficiencies in output are due to the inecient allocation of labor. (ii ) The estimates are sensitive to the structural interpretation of shocks to the labor market, which is ambiguous in the model. (iii ) Movements in hours worked are essentially exogenous, directly driven by labor market shocks, whereas wage rigidities generate a markup of the real wage over the marginal rate of substitution that is acyclical. We conclude that the model fails in two important respects: it does not give clear guidance concerning the eciency of business cycle fluctations, and it provides an unsatisfactory explanation of labor market and business cycle dynamics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 365.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:365

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  1. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2005. "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 11034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. 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.
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  7. Adolfson, Malin & Laseén, Stefan & Lindé, Jesper & Svensson, Lars E.O., 2008. "Optimal Monetary Policy in an Operational Medium-Sized DSGE Model," Working Paper Series 225, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
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  9. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 2009. "What do we know (and not know) about potential output?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 187-214.
  10. Marc P. Giannoni & Jean Boivin, 2005. "DSGE Models in a Data-Rich Environment," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 431, Society for Computational Economics.
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  13. Mark Gertler & Luca Sala & Antonella Trigari, 2008. "An Estimated Monetary DSGE Model with Unemployment and Staggered Nominal Wage Bargaining," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(8), pages 1713-1764, December.
  14. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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Cited by:
  1. Galí, Jordi & Smets, Frank & Wouters, Rafael, 2011. "Unemployment in an Estimated New Keynesian Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 8401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Nicolas Groshenny, 2010. "Monetary policy, inflation and unemployment. In Defense of the Federal Reserve," 2010 Meeting Papers 676, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Luca Sala, 2013. "DSGE models in the frequency domain," Working Papers 504, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

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