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Real wages and aggregate demand shocks: contradictory evidence from VARs

  • Lastrapes, William D.

This paper revisits two recently published estimates (in Gamber and Joutz 1993, and Spencer 1998) of the dynamic effects of aggregate demand shocks on real wages. Despite identical data and similar reliance on long-run restrictions to identify the economic structure of a VAR model of real wages, productive activity and unemployment, the studies' findings are contradictory. I conclude that the sensitivity of these estimates is due to differences in the treatment of a potential deterministic trend in the unemployment rate. To enhance robustness of the estimated responses, I incorporate other variables into the VAR (money, interest rates and prices) and employ long-run monetary neutrality as the primary identifying restriction. I find that real wages respond positively to money supply, or aggregate demand, shocks, implying that nominal output prices are more rigid than wages in the face of such shocks. Furthermore, there is no evidence of absolute nominal wage rigidity in response to money supply shocks. The approach of this paper and its findings improve our confidence in the use of VARs with long-run restrictions.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economics and Business.

Volume (Year): 54 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 389-413

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jebusi:v:54:y:2002:i:4:p:389-413
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconbus

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  1. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1996. "Sticky Price and Limited Participation Models of Money: A Comparison," NBER Working Papers 5804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Matthew Shapiro & Mark Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycles Fluctuations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 111-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Quah, Danny, 1989. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 655-73, September.
  5. Canova, Fabio, 1998. "Detrending and business cycle facts: A user's guide," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 533-540, May.
  6. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1998. "Monetary Policy Shocks: What Have We Learned and to What End?," NBER Working Papers 6400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jon Faust, 1998. "The robustness of identified VAR conclusions about money," International Finance Discussion Papers 610, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Canova, Fabio, 1993. "Detrending and Business Cycle Facts," CEPR Discussion Papers 782, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Ramey, Valerie A. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1998. "Costly capital reallocation and the effects of government spending," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 145-194, June.
  10. Lastrapes, W. D., 1998. "International evidence on equity prices, interest rates and money," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 377-406, June.
  11. Spencer, David E, 1998. "The Relative Stickiness of Wages and Prices," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 120-37, January.
  12. Cooley, Thomas F. & Dwyer, Mark, 1998. "Business cycle analysis without much theory A look at structural VARs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 57-88.
  13. Julio J. Rotemberg, 1999. "A Heuristic Method for Extracting Smooth Trends from Economic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 7439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jon Faust & Eric M. Leeper, 1994. "When do long-run identifying restrictions give reliable results?," Working Paper 94-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  15. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1996. "Do measures of monetary policy in a VAR make sense?," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  16. Katharine G. Abraham & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1215-1264, September.
  17. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense? A Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 943-48, November.
  18. Gamber, Edward N & Joutz, Frederick L, 1993. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1387-93, December.
  19. Faust, Jon, 1998. "The robustness of identified VAR conclusions about money," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 207-244, December.
  20. Geweke, John, 1988. "Antithetic acceleration of Monte Carlo integration in Bayesian inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 73-89.
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