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Revisiting the Okun relationship

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  • Robert Dixon
  • G. C. Lim
  • Jan C. van Ours

Abstract

Our article revisits the Okun relationship between observed unemployment rates and output gaps. We include in the relationship the effect of labour market institutions as well as age and gender effects. Our empirical analysis is based on 20 OECD countries over the period 1985–2013. We find that the share of temporary workers (which includes a high and rising share of young workers) played a crucial role in explaining changes in the Okun coefficient (the impact of the output gap on the unemployment rate) over time. The Okun coefficient is not only different for young, prime-age and older workers but also it decreases with age. From a policy perspective, it follows that an increase in economic growth will not only have the desired outcome of reducing the overall unemployment rate but it will also have the distributional effect of lowering youth unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Dixon & G. C. Lim & Jan C. van Ours, 2017. "Revisiting the Okun relationship," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(28), pages 2749-2765, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:28:p:2749-2765
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2016.1245846
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    Cited by:

    1. de Mendonça, Helder Ferreira & de Oliveira, Diego S.P., 2019. "Firms' confidence and Okun's law in OECD countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 98-107.
    2. Benos, Nikos & Stavrakoudis, Athanassios, 2022. "Okun's law: Copula-based evidence from G7 countries," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 478-491.
    3. Ali Palali & Jan C. Ours, 2017. "Workplace Accidents and Workplace Safety: On Under-reporting and Temporary Jobs," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 31(1), pages 1-14, March.
    4. Aguiar-Conraria, Luís & Martins, Manuel M.F. & Soares, Maria Joana, 2020. "Okun’s Law across time and frequencies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    5. G. C. Lim & Robert Dixon & Jan C. Ours, 2021. "Beyond Okun’s law: output growth and labor market flows," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 60(3), pages 1387-1409, March.
    6. Bod’a, Martin & Považanová, Mariana, 2021. "Output-unemployment asymmetry in Okun coefficients for OECD countries," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 307-323.
    7. Mindaugas Butkus & Janina Seputiene, 2019. "The Output Gap and Youth Unemployment: An Analysis Based on Okun’s Law," Economies, MDPI, vol. 7(4), pages 1-17, November.
    8. Stungwa, Sanele & Tozamile, Siphuxolo, 2021. "Testing Okun’s law in South Africa," MPRA Paper 110936, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Thomas Obst, 2022. "Dynamic version of Okun’s law in the EU15 countries—The role of delays in the unemployment‐output nexus," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 69(2), pages 225-241, May.
    10. Ousama Ben-Salha & Zouhair Mrabet, 2019. "Is Economic Growth Really Jobless? Empirical Evidence from North Africa," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 61(4), pages 598-624, December.
    11. Andrew Evans, 2018. "Okun coefficients and participation coefficients by age and gender," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-22, December.
    12. Pham, Binh Thai & Sala, Hector, 2019. "Government Deficit Shocks and Okun's Coefficient Volatility: New Insights on the Austerity versus Growth Debate," IZA Discussion Papers 12492, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Erić Ognjen & Popović Goran & Bjelić Jelena, 2020. "Analysis of Okun’s Regularity: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina," Economics, Sciendo, vol. 8(2), pages 139-147, December.
    14. Celia Melguizo, 2017. "An analysis of Okun’s law for the Spanish provinces," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 37(1), pages 59-90, February.
    15. Elhorst, J. Paul & Emili, Silvia, 2022. "A spatial econometric multivariate model of Okun's law," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C).
    16. Mindaugas Butkus & Kristina Matuzeviciute & Dovile Rupliene & Janina Seputiene, 2020. "Does Unemployment Responsiveness to Output Change Depend on Age, Gender, Education, and the Phase of the Business Cycle?," Economies, MDPI, vol. 8(4), pages 1-29, November.
    17. Camacho, Máximo & Pacce, Matias & Ulloa, Camilo, 2018. "Regional Business Cycle Phases in Spain/Ciclos económicos regionales en España," Estudios de Economia Aplicada, Estudios de Economia Aplicada, vol. 36, pages 857-896, Septiembr.
    18. Grant, Angelia L., 2018. "The Great Recession and Okun's law," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 291-300.

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    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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