IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why Is French Equilibrium Unemployment So High?



Unemployment in France rose steadily from the early-seventies to the mid-eighties. Since the mid-eighties it has continued to experience fluctuations around a very high average level. Equilibrium unemployment theories are a useful framework within which to account for these developments. A multivariate estimation of the WS-PS model on macroeconomic quarterly data, which includes a larger number of potential unemployment determinants than earlier work, allows an enriched reading of the rise in French unemployment and of its persistence at a high level. We estimated it using a conditional VAR-ECM model, which is based upon the weak exogeneity properties of variables over the 1970-1/1996-4 period. The rise in equilibrium unemployment by 10 points in 25 years can essentially be explained by the rise in tax and social wedge, the slowdown in labour productivity and the deterioration of job security. Terms of exchange and skill mismatch account for only a slim part of the rise in equilibrium unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Yannick L'horty & Christophe Rault, 2003. "Why Is French Equilibrium Unemployment So High?," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 6, pages 127-156, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:6:y:2003:n:1:p:127-156

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bean, Charles R, 1994. "European Unemployment: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 573-619, June.
    2. Banerjee, Anindya & Dolado, Juan J. & Galbraith, John W. & Hendry, David, 1993. "Co-integration, Error Correction, and the Econometric Analysis of Non-Stationary Data," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288107, June.
    3. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 1999. "Le modèle WS-PS," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 53, pages 1-30.
    4. Boswijk, Peter & Franses, Philip Hans, 1992. "Dynamic Specification and Cointegration," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(3), pages 369-381, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nidhaleddine Ben Cheikh & Christophe Rault, 2016. "Recent estimates of exchange rate pass-through to import prices in the euro area," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(1), pages 69-105, February.
    2. Farhani, Sahbi & Mrizak, Sana & Chaibi, Anissa & Rault, Christophe, 2014. "The environmental Kuznets curve and sustainability: A panel data analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 189-198.
    3. Besso, Christophe Raoul, 2010. "Phillips Curve, case study in Cameroon: evaluation of fundamental assumptions," MPRA Paper 35614, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 28 Dec 2011.
    4. Holmlund, Bertil & Alexius, Annika, 2008. "Monetary Policy and Swedish Unemployment Fluctuations," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 2, pages 1-25.
    5. Mohamed El Hedi Arouri & Adel Ben Youssef & Hatem M'Henni & Christophe Rault, 2014. "Energy use and economic growth in Africa: a panel Granger-causality investigation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(2), pages 1247-1258.
    6. 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.
    7. Arouri, Mohamed El Hedi & Ben Youssef, Adel & M'henni, Hatem & Rault, Christophe, 2012. "Energy consumption, economic growth and CO2 emissions in Middle East and North African countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 342-349.
    8. Nidhaleddine Ben Cheikh & Christophe Rault, 2017. "Investigating first-stage exchange rate pass-through: Sectoral and macro evidence from euro area countries," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(12), pages 2611-2638, December.
    9. Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Christophe Rault & Robert Sova & Anamaria Sova, 2009. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Evidence from Ten New EU Members," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 940, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Frédéric Reynès & Paola Veroni & Aurélien Gaimon & Vincent Lapegue & Noé N'Semi & Maël Theulière, 2008. "Does the interaction between shocks and institutions solve the OECD shocks and institutions solve the OECD Unemployment Puzzle ? A Theoritical and Empirical Appraisal," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/9726, Sciences Po.
    11. Paola MONPERRUS-VERONI & Frédéric REYNES & Aurélien GAIMON, "undated". "Does the Interaction between Shocks and Institutions Solve the OECD Unemployment Puzzle? A Theoretical and Empirical Appraisal," EcoMod2008 23800091, EcoMod.
    12. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-475 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-481 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Arouri, Mohamed El Hedi & Ben Youssef, Adel & M'henni, Hatem & Rault, Christophe, 2014. "Exploring the Causality Links between Energy and Employment in African Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 8296, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    labour market; WS-PS model; equilibrium unemployment; cointegration; conditional VAR-ECM model;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:6:y:2003:n:1:p:127-156. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Valeria Dowding). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.