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Labor force participation, wage rigidities, and inflation

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  • Nucci, Francesco
  • Riggi, Marianna

Abstract

The fall in the US labor force participation during the Great Recession stands in sharp contrast with its parallel increase in the euro area. In addition to structural forces, cyclical factors are also shown to account for these patterns, with the participation rate being procyclical in the US since the inception of the crisis and countercyclical in the euro area. We rationalize these diverging developments by using a general equilibrium business cycle model, which nests the endogenous participation decisions into a search and matching framework. We show that the “added worker” effect might outweigh the “discouragement effect” if real wage rigidities are allowed for and/or habit in consumers’ preferences is sufficiently strong. We then draw the implications of variable labor force participation for inflation and establish the following result: if endogenous movements in labor market participation are envisaged, then the degree of real wage rigidities becomes almost irrelevant for price dynamics. Indeed, during recessions, the upward pressures on inflation stemming from the lack of downward adjustment of real wages are offset by an opposite influence from the additional looseness in the labor market, due to the higher participation associated with wage rigidities.

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  • Nucci, Francesco & Riggi, Marianna, 2018. "Labor force participation, wage rigidities, and inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 274-292.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:55:y:2018:i:c:p:274-292
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2017.11.002
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    2. Idriss Fontaine, 2021. "Uncertainty and Labour Force Participation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 83(2), pages 437-471, April.
    3. Marta De Philippis, 2017. "The dynamics of the Italian labour force participation rate: determinants and implications for the employment and unemployment rate," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 396, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    4. Yitian Ren & Heng Li & Liyin Shen & Yu Zhang & Yang Chen & Jinhuan Wang, 2018. "What Is the Efficiency of Fast Urbanization? A China Study," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(9), pages 1-26, September.
    5. Concetta Rondinelli & Roberta Zizza, 2020. "Spend today or spend tomorrow? The role of inflation expectations in consumer behaviour," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1276, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. James Bullard & Aarti Singh, 2020. "Nominal GDP Targeting with Heterogeneous Labor Supply," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 52(1), pages 37-77, February.
    7. Conti, Antonio M., 2021. "Resurrecting the Phillips Curve in Low-Inflation Times," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 172-195.
    8. Stefano Neri & Alessandro Notarpietro, 2015. "The macroeconomic effects of low and falling inflation at the zero lower bound," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1040, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Francisco Perez‐Arce & María J. Prados, 2021. "The Decline In The U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate: A Literature Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 615-652, April.
    10. Iryna Lukianenko & Marianna Oliskevych, 2017. "Evidence of Asymmetries and Nonlinearity of Unemployment and Labour Force Participation Rate in Ukraine," Prague Economic Papers, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2017(5), pages 578-601.
    11. Francisco Perez-Arce & Maria J. Prados & Tarra Kohli, 2018. "The Decline in the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate," Working Papers wp385, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    12. Antonio M. Conti & Concetta Gigante, 2018. "Weakness in Italy�s core inflation and the Phillips curve: the role of labour and financial indicators," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 466, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    13. Lewis, Vivien & Villa, Stefania & Wolters, Maik H., 2019. "Labor productivity, effort and the euro area business cycle," Discussion Papers 44/2019, Deutsche Bundesbank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor force participation; Great Recession; Wage rigidities; Inflation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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