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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Spencer, David E, 1998. "The Relative Stickiness of Wages and Prices," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 120-37, January.
  5. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1997. "Sticky price and limited participation models of money: A comparison," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1201-1249, June.
  6. Matthew D. Shapiro & Mark W. Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycle Fluctuations," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 870, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. 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.
  8. Jon Faust & Eric M. Leeper, 1994. "When do long-run identifying restrictions give reliable results?," International Finance Discussion Papers 462, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. 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.
  10. Canova, Fabio, 1993. "Detrending and Business Cycle Facts," CEPR Discussion Papers 782, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbance," Working papers 497, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. 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.
  16. Canova, Fabio, 1998. "Detrending and business cycle facts: A user's guide," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 533-540, May.
  17. Valerie A. Ramey & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1999. "Costly Capital Reallocation and the Effects of Government Spending," NBER Working Papers 6283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Geweke, John, 1988. "Antithetic acceleration of Monte Carlo integration in Bayesian inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 73-89.
  19. 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.).
  20. 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.
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