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Does the interaction between shocks and institutions solve the OECD shocks and institutions solve the OECD Unemployment Puzzle ? A Theoritical and Empirical Appraisal

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Author Info

  • Frédéric Reynès

    (OFCE (OFCE))

  • Paola Veroni

    (OFCE)

  • Aurélien Gaimon

    (École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique (ENSAE))

  • Vincent Lapegue

    (INSEE Paris)

  • Noé N'Semi
  • Maël Theulière

    (INSEE Paris)

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical and empirical appraisal of the shocks-institutions controversy as an explanation of unemployment heterogeneity in OECD countries. Since the influential work of Blanchard and Wolfers (2000), many studies have tried to explain the differences in the OECD unemployment rate as the result of interaction between shocks and labour market institutions. Modelling this interaction is viewed as a promising way for understanding the puzzle of unemployment disparities which can be explained by none of the two kinds of variables individually. Indeed, on the one hand, OECD countries have been affected by symmetric shocks and have nevertheless experienced different unemployment dynamics. On the other hand, before the 1970s, all these countries had low unemployment rates in spite of quite different labour market institutions. Using cross section data, these studies test a direct relationship between the unemployment rate, shocks and institutions and thus have the advantage of readily allowing for international comparisons. However, testing a reduced equation of the unemployment rate constitutes also their main drawback as they do not analyze formally the link between the unemployment rate and the wage determination process. As a consequence, empirical results are quite divergent among studies since they often lay on ad hoc specifications that may have little theoretical foundations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number info:hdl:2441/9726.

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Date of creation: 18 Sep 2008
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Publication status: Published in 57ème Congrès de l’AFSE, Paris, 18-19 septembre 2008, pp.1-59
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/9726

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Keywords: Equilibrium unemployment; Structural model; shock; labour market institutions; OECD; cross-section estimation;

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References

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  1. Robert J. Gordon, 1996. "The Time-Varying NAIRU and its Implications for Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 5735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Assar Lindbeck, 1993. "Unemployment and Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121751, December.
  3. Luca Nunziata, 2001. "Labour Market Institutions and the Cyclical Dynamics of Employment," Economics Series Working Papers 1999-W26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  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, vol. 24(1), pages 42-65, January.
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  11. Belot, M.V.K. & Ours, J.C. van, 2001. "Unemployment and Labor Market Institutions: An Empirical Analysis," Discussion Paper 2001-50, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  13. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries: Reassessing the Role of Policies and Institutions," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
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  15. George A. Akerlof & William T. Dickens & George L. Perry, 2000. "Near-Rational Wage and Price Setting and the Long-Run Phillips Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 1-60.
  16. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis And The European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
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