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Cliométrie du chômage et des salaires en France, 1950-2008


  • Michel-Pierre Chelini

    (Professeur d’histoire économique contemporaine à l’Université d’Arras)

  • Georges Prat

    (Directeur de recherche au CNRS, EconomiX, Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense)


From a macroeconomic perspective, this paper aims to represent the dynamics of the unemployment rate and of the variations of wages in France over the period of 1950-2008. On a theoretical level, the unemployment equation distinguishes a chronic factor characterized by an excess of real wages compared to the labor productivity gains, a conjunctural factor characterized by the difference between the growth rate of the production and its long term value, and a structural factor including frictional, technological and voluntary components of the unemployment. The wages' variations are classically supposed to depend on productivity gains and inflation. On the empirical level, estimations are made simultaneously for the unemployment and wages with a Space-State model based on the Kalman filter methodology. This econometric approach allows for the introduction of time varying parameters. In accordance with these hypotheses, the unemployment rate is shown to depend on the excess of the real hourly labor cost over the marginal productivity of labor (with a time varying sensibility), on the growth rate of the real GDP and on a structural component, which is about 4%. The chronic unemployment rate appeared in the beginning of the 1970s; at this time, it progressively increases to reach a maximum of 7.8% in 1994, then decreases to fall below 2% in 2008. The conjunctural component is in conformity with the Okun's law since it links negatively the unemployment rate with the production growth rate, this factor seeming to develop particularly after the 1973 oil shock. In addition, the results indicate a delayed influence of the above-mentioned factors on the unemployment, with an average period of influence of 3.3 years. Concerning wages, as expected, the rate of change in nominal wages is shown to be determined by the growth rate in productivity and by the inflation rate as well. The wages' elasticity with respect to price level appears to be time -varying, with a value close to
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Suggested Citation

  • Michel-Pierre Chelini & Georges Prat, 2011. "Cliométrie du chômage et des salaires en France, 1950-2008," Working Papers 11-08, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:wpaper:11-08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stéphanie Guichard & Jean-Pierre Laffargue, 2000. "The Wage Curve: The Lessons of an Estimation Over a Panel of Countries," Working Papers 2000-21, CEPII research center.
    2. Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1999. "Rethinking the Role of NAIRU in Monetary Policy: Implications of Model Formulation and Uncertainty," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 405-436 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Pierre Blanchard & Patrick Sevestre, 1989. "L'indexation des salaires : quelle rupture en 1982 ?," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 87(1), pages 67-74.
    4. Stuart E. Weiner, 1993. "New estimates of the natural rate of unemployment," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 53-69.
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    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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