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Roots of the Recent Recoveries: Labor Reforms or Private Sector Forces?

  • Jean-Paul Fitoussi

    (Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques)

  • David Jestaz

    (Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques)

  • Edmund S. Phelps

    (Columbia University)

  • Gylfi Zoega

    (Birkbeck College)

It is widely agreed that the natural unemployment rate recovered strongly in several OECD economies in the 1990s while not yet in the others. This paper draws on models by the authors endogenizing the path of the natural rate in order to trace the causes and apportion the credit. The results suggest that the five structural reforms of the labor market urged by the OECD Secretariat were effective and account for some of the recovery where adopted. However, the paper sees most of the recoveries as largely the emergence from structural slump to a structural boom--a boom brought by revived investment in employees, customers and fixed capital. Behind this revival is a recovery of business-asset valuations resulting from improved expectations for productivity growth and, judging by the stock market, hopes for a future lift in business earnings that exceeds extrapolations of the past--both driven by the "new economy."

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Article provided by Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution in its journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

Volume (Year): 31 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 237-311

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Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:31:y:2000:i:2000-1:p:237-311
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  1. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  2. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  3. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen, 1986. "Unemployment in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S121-69, Supplemen.
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  6. Michael Bruno & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "Economics of Worldwide Stagflation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brun85-1, October.
  7. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
  8. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, March.
  9. van Ours, J.C. & Nickell, S.J., 2000. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom : A European unemployment miracle?," Other publications TiSEM 8dc4101d-6e72-44dd-9ab0-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  10. Salop, Steven C, 1979. "A Model of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 117-25, March.
  11. Steve Nickell & Jan van Ours, 2000. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom: a European unemployment miracle?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 135-180, 04.
  12. Assar Lindbeck & Dennis J. Snower, 1989. "The Insider-Outsider Theory of Employment and Unemployment," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026262074x, June.
  13. Phelps, Edmund S & Zoega, Gylfi, 1997. "The Rise and Downward Trend of the Natural Rate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 283-89, May.
  14. Madsen, Jakob B, 1998. "General Equilibrium Macroeconomic Models of Unemployment: Can They Explain the Unemployment Path in the OECD?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 850-67, May.
  15. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-84119 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Hoon, Hian Teck & Phelps, Edmund S, 1992. "Macroeconomic Shocks in a Dynamized Model of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 889-900, September.
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