How useful is Okun's law?
From the beginning of 2003 through the first quarter of 2006, real gross domestic product in the United States grew at an average annual rate of 3.4 percent. As expected, unemployment during the period fell. Over the course of the next year, average growth slowed to less than half its earlier rate--but unemployment continued to drift downward. This situation presented a puzzle for policymakers and economists, who expected the unemployment rate to increase as the economy slowed. ; Typically, growth slowdowns coincide with rising unemployment. This negative correlation between GDP growth and unemployment has been named “Okun’s law.” Part of the enduring appeal of Okun’s law is its simplicity, since it involves two important macroeconomic variables. Additionally, the relationship appears to enjoy empirical support. In reality, though, Okun’s law is a statistical relationship rather than a structural feature of the economy. As with any statistical relationship, it may be subject to revisions in an ever-changing macro economy. ; Knotek considers the usefulness of Okun’s law for policymakers and economists. The evidence suggests that Okun’s relationship between changes in the unemployment rate and output growth has varied considerably over time and over the business cycle. Nevertheless, Okun’s relationship can still be useful as a forecasting tool--provided that one takes its instability into account.
Volume (Year): (2007)
Issue (Month): Q IV ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (816) 881-2254
Web page: http://www.kansascityfed.org
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Grant, Alan P., 2002. "Time-varying estimates of the natural rate of unemployment: a revisitation of Okun's law," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 95-113.
- Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2000. "How fast can the new economy grow?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue feb25.
- David E. Altig & Terry J. Fitzgerald & Peter Rupert, 1997. "Okun's law revisited: should we worry about low unemployment?," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue May.
- Clifford L. F. Attfield & Brian Silverstone, 1997. "Okun's Coefficient: A Comment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 326-329, May.
- Peter M. Summers, 2005. "What caused the Great Moderation? : some cross-country evidence," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 5-32.
- Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2007. "Forecasting with small macroeconomic VARs in the presence of instabilities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-41, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2006.
"A new Keynesian model with unemployment,"
Working Paper Research
92, National Bank of Belgium.
- Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
- Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003.
"An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
- Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2002. "An estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Research 35, National Bank of Belgium.
- Weber, Christian E, 1995. "Cyclical Output, Cyclical Unemployment, and Okun's Coefficient: A New Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 433-45, Oct.-Dec..
- Prachowny, Martin F J, 1993. "Okun's Law: Theoretical Foundations and Revised Estimates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 331-36, May.
- Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, 2003. "Okun's Law Revisited," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(4), pages 439-451, 09.
- Moosa, Imad A., 1997. "A Cross-Country Comparison of Okun's Coefficient," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 335-356, June.
- Lee, Jim, 2000. "The Robustness of Okun's Law: Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 331-356, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:2007:i:qiv:p:73-103:n:v.92no.4. 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: (LDayrit)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.