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The equilibrium rate of unemployment : a theoretical discussion and an empirical evaluation for six OECD countries

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  • Odile Chagny

    (Centre Etudes & Prospective)

  • Frédéric Reynès

    (OFCE (OFCE))

  • Henri Sterdyniak

    (OFCE)

Abstract

This paper examines theoretically and empirically the controversial notion of “equilibrium rate of unemployment” (ERU) which opposes proponents of the Phillips curve to those of the WS/PS models. Theoretically, this paper shows that the specification of the wage equation has a significant influence on the ERU. It also shows that an “asymmetric” wage-price setting using a Phillips curve and a price equation in level allows a clear distinction between the medium run ERU and the long run ERU that can be seen as a reconciliation between WS/PS models and the Phillips curve. Moreover, this paper calculates ERU for 6 OECD countries (the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands) for the period 1970-late 1990’s by using a structural approach. As there are little studies that test directly the impact of institutional variables in a Phillips curve, the first empirical objective is to test this effect. The results in this matter are not really conclusive. The second objective is to calculate medium run and long run ERU. The evolutions of the medium run ERU explain relatively well those of the actual unemployment rate until the late eighties. Its determinants are the slowdown of productivity growth, the 2 oil shocks, the increase of employer’s social contribution and the change in the inflation target of the monetary authorities. In the nineties, the actual unemployment lies clearly above its equilibrium level suggesting that a big part of the European unemployment is due to an excess supply.

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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number n°2002-04.

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Date of creation: Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/1905

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  1. Assar Lindbeck, 1993. "Unemployment and Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121751, December.
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  22. repec:wop:humbsf:2001-49 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Henri Delessy & Philippine Cour & Hervé Le Bihan & Henri Sterdyniak, 1997. "Le taux de chômage d'équilibre, anciennes et nouvelles approches," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5268, Sciences Po.
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Cited by:
  1. Aurélien Gaimon & Vincent Lapegue & Paola Veroni & Noé N'Semi & Frédéric Reynès & Maël Theulière, 2007. "Does the interaction between shocks and institutions solve the OECD unemployment puzzle ? A theoretical and empirical appraisal," Sciences Po publications 2007-34, Sciences Po.
  2. Eric Heyer & Frederic Reynes & Henri Sterdyniak, 2004. "Observable and unobservable variables in the theory of the equilibrium rate of unemployment, a comparison between France and the United States," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) 2004-06, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  3. Bruno Ducoudre & Antoine Bouveret, 2007. "On the Contingency of Equilibrium Exchange Rates with Time - Consistent Economic Policies," Sciences Po publications 2007-08, Sciences Po.
  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, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 42-65, January.
  5. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/1904 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Alistair Dieppe & Jerome Henry & Peter Mc Adam, . "Labour market dynamics in the euro area: A model-based sensitivity analysis," Modeling, Computing, and Mastering Complexity 2003, Society for Computational Economics 09, Society for Computational Economics.

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