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Restructuring, the NAIRU, and the Phillips curve

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  • Geoffrey M.B. Tootell

Abstract

Recent news stories about corporate downsizing have increased concerns that the labor market is being permanently restructured. The press implicitly, and some economists explicitly, have concluded that this "restructuring" in the labor market has increased the rate of unemployment that is consistent with stable inflation. This rate is known as the NAIRU, the non-accelerating-inflation rate of unemployment, the unemployment rate below which inflation tends to rise, and above which inflation tends to fall. ; This article examines both macroeconomic data and more disaggregated data in search of evidence that the NAIRU has increased. The author finds that neither type of data supports a conclusion that NAIRU has risen in the past few years. He concludes with a brief assessment of the difficulties of estimating the NAIRU.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey M.B. Tootell, 1994. "Restructuring, the NAIRU, and the Phillips curve," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 31-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:1994:i:sep:p:31-44
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
    2. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1984. "The Lucas Critique and the Volcker Deflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 211-215, May.
    3. George L. Perry, 1970. "Changing Labor Markets and Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 411-448.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Jim, 2000. "The Robustness of Okun's Law: Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 331-356, April.
    2. Michelle L. Barnes & Giovanni P. Olivei, 2003. "Inside and outside bounds: threshold estimates of the Phillips curve," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 3-18.
    3. Geoffrey M.B. Tootell, 1998. "Globalization and U.S. inflation," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 21-33.
    4. Renshaw, Edward, 1996. "The natural rate of unemployment: Can it be estimated with any confidence?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 203-215, April.
    5. Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J, 2003. " Inflation Targeting under Asymmetric Preferences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(5), pages 763-785, October.
    6. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Cara S. Lown & Robert W. Rich, 1997. "Is there an inflation puzzle?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 51-77.
    8. Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J., 2003. "Does the Barro-Gordon model explain the behavior of US inflation? A reexamination of the empirical evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1375-1390, September.
    9. Lynn Elaine Browne, 1999. "U.S economic performance: good fortune, bubble, or new era?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 3-20.
    10. Sharon Kozicki, 2001. "Why do central banks monitor so many inflation indicators?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 5-42.
    11. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "The NAIRU, Unemployment and Monetary Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 33-49, Winter.
    12. Debelle, Guy & Vickery, James, 1998. "Is the Phillips Curve a Curve? Some Evidence and Implications for Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 74(227), pages 384-398, December.
    13. Robert W. Rich & Donald Rissmiller, 2001. "Structural change in U.S. wage determination," Staff Reports 117, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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    Keywords

    Unemployment ; Phillips curve;

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