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High Discounts and High Unemployment

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  • Robert E. Hall
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    Abstract

    In recessions, all types of investment fall, including employers' investment in job creation. The stock market falls more than in proportion to corporate profit. The discount rate implicit in the stock market rises, and discounts for other claims on business income also rise. According to the leading view of unemployment–the Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides model–when the incentive for job creation falls, the labor market slackens and unemployment rises. Employers recover their investments in job creation by collecting a share of the surplus from the employment relationship. The value of that flow falls when the discount rate rises. Thus high discount rates imply high unemployment. This paper does not explain why the discount rate rises so much in recessions. Rather, it shows that the rise in unemployment makes perfect economic sense in an economy where, for some reason, the discount rises substantially in recessions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19871.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19871

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    1. Jules Vanbinsbergen & Michael W. Brandt & Ralph Koijen, 2010. "On the Timing and Pricing of Dividends," Working Papers, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics 2010-010, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    2. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, December.
    3. Shigeru Fujita, 2011. "Effects of extended unemployment insurance benefits: evidence from the monthly CPS," Working Papers 10-35, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    4. Harald Uhlig, 2007. "Explaining Asset Prices with External Habits and Wage Rigidities in a DSGE Model," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-003, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    5. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2013. "The Cyclicality of the Opportunity Cost of Employment," NBER Working Papers 19678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Luca Sala & Antonella Trigari & Mark Gertler, 2007. "An Estimated Monetary DSGE Model with Unemployment and Staggered Nominal Wage Bargaining," 2007 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 353, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Favilukis, Jack & Lin, Xiaoji, 2012. "Wage Rigidity: A Solution to Several Asset Pricing Puzzles," Working Paper Series 2012-16, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    8. Lars-Alexander Kuehn & Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau & Lu Zhang, 2012. "An Equilibrium Asset Pricing Model with Labor Market Search," NBER Working Papers 17742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Marcus Hagedorn & Fatih Karahan & Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman, 2013. "Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects," NBER Working Papers 19499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Christopher J. Nekarda & Valerie A. Ramey, 2013. "The Cyclical Behavior of the Price-Cost Markup," NBER Working Papers 19099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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