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EMU: What if the Shocks are in the Labor Markets?

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  • Gil Mehrez

    (Georgetown University)

  • Natacha Valla

    (European University Institute)

Abstract

This paper argues that labor markets across Europe vary dramatically in their fundamentals features and rigidities across Europe. Thus, any discussion of an optimum currency area should focus on the differences and the idiosyncratic changes in the labor markets. After demonstrating the vast differences and changes in the labor markets across Europe, we construct a model with differential goods, monopolistic competition, free trade and labor market rigidities. We show that a change in labor market features in one country, such as a change in the unemployment benefits, affects the equilibrium unemployment and real wages in both countries. Independent monetary policy, i.e., having distinct currencies, can be used to control the speed of adjustment to the new equilibrium. An active monetary policy can speed the adjustment to an equilibrium with low unemployment following a positive change in the labor market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Finance with number 9803001.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 09 Mar 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpif:9803001

Note: Type of Document - WordPerfect; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP; pages: 35 ; figures: included
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. David Blanchflower & L Katz & G Loveman, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages in Four OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0144, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. 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.
  3. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1992. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Some International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, September.
  5. Bayoumi, Tamim & Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Operationalizing the Theory of Optimum Currency Areas," CEPR Discussion Papers 1484, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages," NBER Working Papers 4297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1.
  8. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
  9. Decressin, Jorg & Fatas, Antonio, 1995. "Regional labor market dynamics in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1627-1655, December.
  10. Yellen, Janet L, 1984. "Efficiency Wage Models of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 200-205, May.
  11. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1990. " The Wage Curve," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(2), pages 215-35.
    • David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 1995. "The Wage Curve," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026202375x, December.
  12. Bean, Charles R, 1994. "European Unemployment: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 573-619, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  15. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
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