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Disinflation and the NAIRU

In: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy


  • Laurence M. Ball


This paper asks why the NAIRU rose in most OECD countries in the 1980s. I find that a central cause was the tight monetary policy used to reduce inflation. The evidence comes from a cross-country comparison: countries with larger decreases in inflation and longer disinflationary periods have larger rises in the NAIRU. Imperfections in the labor market have little direct relation to changes in the NAIRU, but long-term unemployment benefits magnify the effects of disinflation. These results support `hysteresis' theories of unemployment.
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Suggested Citation

  • Laurence M. Ball, 1997. "Disinflation and the NAIRU," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 167-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:8884

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blanchard, Olivier & Jimeno, Juan F, 1995. "Structural Unemployment: Spain versus Portugal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 212-218, May.
    2. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, June.
    3. Laurence Ball, 1994. "What Determines the Sacrifice Ratio?," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy, pages 155-193 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. Junankar, P.N. & Madsen, J.B., 1994. "Unemployment in the OECD: Models, Myths and Mysteries," Papers 278, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
    6. Assar Lindbeck & Dennis J. Snower, 1989. "The Insider-Outsider Theory of Employment and Unemployment," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026262074x, January.
    7. Edmund S. Phelps, 1968. "Money-Wage Dynamics and Labor-Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 678-678.
    8. Jørgen Elmeskov, 1993. "High and Persistent Unemployment: Assessment of the Problem and Its Causes," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 132, OECD Publishing.
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    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General


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