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The Labour Market over the Business Cycle: Can Theory Fit the Facts?


  • Millard, Stephen
  • Scott, Andrew
  • Sensier, Marianne


We examine the ability of six labor market models to account for the business cycle behavior of UK labor markets when embedded in a stochastic growth model. We assess the models in terms of their ability to mimic general business cycle correlations and volatility, their success at explaining the persistence of labor market fluctuations, and whether they can explain why the growth and speed of adjustment of labor market variables changes between periods of expansions and contractions. The main success of the models is their ability broadly to account for business cycle correlations and comovements and the variations in employment/unemployment growth rates between expansions and contractions. However, there are three main failures: the models tend to produce insufficiently volatile employment and unemployment fluctuations; they tend to produce too strong a correlation between wages and employment; and most of them generate only brief temporary deviations in unemployment in response to shocks rather than the protracted dynamics of the data. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Millard, Stephen & Scott, Andrew & Sensier, Marianne, 1997. "The Labour Market over the Business Cycle: Can Theory Fit the Facts?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 70-92, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:13:y:1997:i:3:p:70-92

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