IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Monetary policy and European unemployment

  • Ronald Schettkat
  • Rongrong Sun

In the long history of rising and persistent unemployment in Europe, almost all welfare-state institutions--employment protection legislation, unions, wages, wage structure, unemployment insurance, etc.--have been alleged to have caused and found guilty of causing this tragic development at some point in time. Later, welfare-state institutions in interaction with external shocks were identified as more plausible causes of rising equilibrium unemployment in Europe. Monetary policy has managed to be regarded as innocent. Based on the assertion of the neutrality of money in the medium and long run, the search for causes of European unemployment has shied away from the policy of central banks. But actually the institutional set-up regarding monetary policy is very different between the Federal Reserve System (Fed) and the Bundesbank and its successor, The European Central Bank (ECB). We argue that the interaction of adverse shocks and tight monetary policies may have been the major--although probably not the only--cause of unemployment in Europe remaining at ever higher levels after each recession. We identify the monetary policy of the Bundesbank as asymmetrical, in the sense that the Bank did not actively fight against recessions, but it dampened recovery periods. Less constraint on growth would have kept German unemployment at lower levels. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 25 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 94-108

in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:25:y:2009:i:1:p:94-108
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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.:

as in new window
  1. Annika Alexius & Bertil Holmlund, 2007. "Monetary Policy and Swedish Unemployment Fluctuations," CESifo Working Paper Series 2044, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector & Snower, Dennis J., 2007. "The Evolution of Inflation and Unemployment: Explaining the Roaring Nineties," IZA Discussion Papers 2900, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector & Snower, Dennis J., 2003. "The European Phillips Curve: Does the NAIRU Exist?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. David Card & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux, 1999. "Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 843-877, August.
  5. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 27-48, Fall.
  6. Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1994. "Inventory Investment, Internal-Finance Fluctuation, and the Business Cycle," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 75-138.
  7. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1994. "What Ends Recessions?," NBER Working Papers 4765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1994. "What Ends Recessions?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 13-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala & Dennis Snower, 2007. "The macroeconomics of the labor market: three fundamental views," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 151-180, December.
  9. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy rules based on real-time data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Mankiw, N Gregory, 2001. "The Inexorable and Mysterious Tradeoff between Inflation and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C45-61, May.
  11. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Monopolistic Price Adjustment and Aggregate Output," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 517-31, October.
  12. Andrew Glyn & David Howell & John Schmitt, 2006. "Labor Market Reforms: The Evidence Does Not Tell the Orthodox Tale," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 49(2), pages 5-22, April.
  13. Alan S. Blinder & Ricardo Reis, 2005. "Understanding the Greenspan Standard," Working Papers 88, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  14. Andrew Glyn, 2003. "Labor Market Institutions and Unemployment: A Critical Assessment of the Cross-Country Evidence," Economics Series Working Papers 168, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  15. Hargreaves Heap, S P, 1980. "Choosing the Wrong 'Natural' Rate: Accelerating Inflation or Decelerating Employment and Growth?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(359), pages 611-20, September.
  16. Pete Richardson & Laurence Boone & Claude Giorno & Mara Meacci & David Rae & David Turner, 2000. "The Concept, Policy Use and Measurement of Structural Unemployment: Estimating a Time Varying NAIRU Across 21 OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 250, OECD Publishing.
  17. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203, April.
  18. Mishkin, Frederic S., 2001. "From monetary targeting to inflation targeting : lessons from the industrialized countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2684, The World Bank.
  19. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1998. "The liquidity effect and long-run neutrality," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 149-194, December.
  20. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Staggered Wage Setting in a Macro Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 108-13, May.
  22. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1998. "Inflation Targeting: Lessons from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 6126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "A Near-rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Intertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 823-38, Supp..
  24. Alan Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle," Working Papers 769, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  25. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Franz, Wolfgang & Bode, Oliver, 2007. "The Phillips Curve and NAIRU Revisited: New Estimates for Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-070, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  26. Richard H. Clarida & Mark Gertler, 1997. "How the Bundesbank Conducts Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 363-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  28. Solow, Robert M., 1979. "Another possible source of wage stickiness," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 79-82.
  29. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, July.
  30. Ronald Schettkat, 2007. "Beschränktheit der makroökonomischen Diskussion überwinden," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer, vol. 87(11), pages 742-747, November.
  31. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1997. "What does the Bundesbank target?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1025-1053, June.
  32. Svensson, Lars E.O., 1997. "Inflation Targeting: Some Extensions," Seminar Papers 625, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  33. Thomas Laubach, 1997. "Measuring the NAIRU : evidence from seven economies," Research Working Paper 97-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  34. Carlin, Wendy & Soskice, David, 2007. "Reforms, Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Performance in Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 6415, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  35. Laurence Ball, 1999. "Aggregate demand and Long-Run Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(2), pages 189-252.
  36. Laurence Ball, 1990. "Credible Disinflation with Staggered Price Setting," NBER Working Papers 3555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
  38. Christopher Allsopp & David Vines, 2005. "The Macroeconomic Role of Fiscal Policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(4), pages 485-508, Winter.
  39. Laurence Ball, 1996. "Disinflation and the NAIRU," NBER Working Papers 5520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Hall, Peter A. & Soskice, David (ed.), 2001. "Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247752.
  41. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  42. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  43. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "Is Unemployment More Costly Than Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 13505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. Joseph Stiglitz, 1997. "Reflections on the Natural Rate Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, Winter.
  45. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
  46. Taylor, John B., 1980. "Output and price stability: An international comparison," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 109-132, May.
  47. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "Skill Compression, Wage Differentials and Employment: Germany vs. the US," NBER Working Papers 7610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  48. Blinder, Alan S. & Solow, Robert M., 1973. "Does fiscal policy matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 319-337.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:25:y:2009:i:1:p:94-108. 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: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.