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Vicious and Virtuous Circles - The Political Economy of Unemployment in Interwar UK and USA

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This paper develops a political economy model of multiple unemployment equilibria to provide a theory of an endogenous natural rate of unemployment. This model is applied to the UK and the US interwar period which is remembered as the decade of mass unemployment. The theory here sees the natural rate and the associated path of unemployment as a reaction to shocks (mainly demand in nature) and the institutional structure of the economy. The channel through which these two forces feed on each other is a political economy process whereby voters with limited information on the natural rate react to shocks by demanding more or less social protection. The reduced form results obtained confirm a pattern of unemployment behaviour in which unemployment moves between high and low equilibria in response to shocks.

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File URL: http://patrickminford.net/wp/E2006_25.pdf
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Paper provided by Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section in its series Cardiff Economics Working Papers with number E2006/25.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision: Nov 2006
Publication status: Published in European Journal of Political Economy Volume 24, Issue 3, September 2008, Pages 605-614
Handle: RePEc:cdf:wpaper:2006/25
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  1. Matthews, Kent & Minford, Patrick & Naraidoo, Ruthira, 2006. "Vicious and Virtuous Circles - The Political Economy of Unemployment in Interwar UK and USA," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2006/25, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section, revised Nov 2006.
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fisher, Paul G. & Wallis, Kenneth F., 1990. "The historical tracking performance of UK macroeconometric models 1978-1985," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 179-197, April.
  4. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & David Jestaz & Edmund S Phelps & Gylfi Zoega, 2000. "Roots of the Recent Recoveries: Labor Reforms or Private Sector Forces?," Post-Print hal-01011185, HAL.
  5. Bean, C R & Layard, P R G & Nickell, S J, 1986. "The Rise in Unemployment: A Multi-country Study," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages 1-22, Supplemen.
  6. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
  7. Ruthira Naraidoo & Patrick Minford, 2006. "Vicious and Virtuous Circles: The Political Economy of Unemployment," Keele Economics Research Papers KERP 2006/03, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
  8. Minford, Patrick, 1983. "Labour Market Equilibrium in an Open Economy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(0), pages 207-244, Supplemen.
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  10. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," Working papers 427, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  12. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen, 1986. "Unemployment in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages 121-169, Supplemen.
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  14. Pippenger, Michael K & Goering, Gregory E, 1993. "A Note on the Empirical Power of Unit Root Tests under Threshold Processes," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 55(4), pages 473-481, November.
  15. D. A. Peel & A. E. H. Speight, 1998. "The nonlinear time series properties of unemployment rates: some further evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 287-294, February.
  16. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  17. Parker Randall E. & Rothman Philip, 1998. "The Current Depth-of-Recession and Unemployment-Rate Forecasts," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(4), pages 1-10, January.
  18. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Comparative Analysis of Labor Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Blanchard, O & Katz, L, 1996. "What We Know and Do Not Know about the Natural Rate of Unemployment," Working papers 96-29, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  20. Benjamin, Daniel K & Kochin, Levis A, 1982. "Unemployment and Unemployment Benefits in Twentieth-Century Britain: A Reply to Our Critics [Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain]," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 410-436, April.
  21. Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 755-776.
  22. Neftci, Salih N, 1984. "Are Economic Time Series Asymmetric over the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 307-328, April.
  23. Wright, Randall, 1986. "The redistributive roles of unemployment insurance and the dynamics of voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 377-399, December.
  24. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  25. Philip Rothman, 1998. "Forecasting Asymmetric Unemployment Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 164-168, February.
  26. Benjamin, Daniel K & Kochin, Levis A, 1979. "Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(3), pages 441-478, June.
  27. Wallis, John Joseph & Benjamin, Daniel K., 1981. "Public Relief and Private Employment in the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 97-102, March.
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  30. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/5571 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Stokey, Nancy L & Rebelo, Sergio, 1995. "Growth Effects of Flat-Rate Taxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 519-550, June.
  32. Ericsson, Neil R & Marquez, Jaime, 1993. "Encompassing the Forecasts of U.S. Trade Balance Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(1), pages 19-31, February.
  33. Weede, Erich, 1997. "Income inequality, democracy and growth reconsidered," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 751-764, December.
  34. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, 01.
  35. Yock Y. Chong & David F. Hendry, 1986. "Econometric Evaluation of Linear Macro-Economic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 671-690.
  36. 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.
  37. Andrews, M J & Minford, A P L & Riley, J, 1996. "On Comparing Macroeconomic Models Using Forecast Encompassing Tests," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(2), pages 279-305, May.
  38. Bernasconi, Michele, 2006. "Redistributive taxation in democracies: Evidence on people's satisfaction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 809-837, December.
  39. Broadberry, S N, 1986. "Aggregate Supply in Interwar Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 467-481, June.
  40. Minford, Patrick & Peel, David, 1982. "The political theory of the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 253-270.
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