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Théorie et pratique du chômage en France

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  • Philippe Michel
  • Daniel Cohen

Abstract

[eng] Theory and practice of french unemployment . . The paper shows that an economic policy which has stabilized wages around productivity growth will yield a randow walk behavior for employment. The sources of this indexation are examined. In the framework of the paper, it will resuit from the inefficiency of the intertemporal arbitrage of economie policy; Labor demand depends upon the expected value of future labor costs. (Employment is a quasi-fixed factor, along Sargent's formulation). Therefore, government must convince the firms that a lasting wedge between the productivity and the cost of labor will be maintenained later on, in order to yield new hirings to-day. Otherwise, if firms' expectations cannot be manipulated, the government will have no incentive to bring down the cost of labor today. The indexation of the cost of labor on productivity is therefore the by-product of two self-fulfilling processes : (a) it is the best policy which a government will do, if it cannot convince the private agents that it will do something else later on ; (b) it corresponds to the best policy that will pursue a government which truthfully believes that labor is a « random walk ». [fre] Théorie et pratique du chômage en France. l. L'article montre qu'une politique économique qui s'est employée à indexer les salaires sur la productivité donnera lieu à une « marche au hasard » pour l'emploi, et il analyse les causes de cette indexation. Dans le modèle étudié, l'embauche dépend des anticipations des firmes sur l'évolution future des coûts du travail (l'emploi étant un facteur quasi fixe). Dès lors, le gouvernement doit convaincre les firmes qu'un écart durable sera maintenu entre coût et productivité du travail pour les incitera embaucher. A défaut, il n'aura aucune incitation à imposer une rigueur salariale inutile. L'équilibre avec indexation des salaires sur la productivité sera donc l'effet d'un double mouvement « auto-réalisateur ». En premier lieu, il dissimule la preuve économétrique de la corrélation entre salaire et emploi. En second lieu, il est l'équilibre que retiendra un gouvernement qui fait face à des entreprises dont les anticipations ne peuvent pas être manipulées.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Michel & Daniel Cohen, 1987. "Théorie et pratique du chômage en France," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 38(3), pages 661-676.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:reveco:reco_0035-2764_1987_num_38_3_408993
    DOI: 10.3406/reco.1987.408993
    Note: DOI:10.3406/reco.1987.408993
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1981. "The trade-off between real wages and employment in an open economy (Belgium)," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-40.
    3. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
    4. Cohen, Daniel & Michel, Philippe, 1986. "How Should Control Theory be Used by a Time-Consistent Government?," CEPR Discussion Papers 141, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
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