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The Shimer-Puzzle of International Trade: A Quantitative Analysis


  • Gabriel Felbermayr


  • Mario Larch
  • Wolfgang Lechthaler


Recent theoretical literature studies how labor market reforms in one country can affect labor market outcomes in other countries, thereby rationalizing widely-held policy beliefs and empirical evidence. But what is the quantitative relevance of such spillover effects? This paper combines two recent workhorse models: the canonical search-and-matching framework and the heterogeneous firms international trade model. Qualitatively, the framework confirms that labor market reforms in one country benefit its trading partners, replicating the stylized facts. However, when wages are bargained flexibly, the model quantitatively underestimates the correlation of structural unemployment rates across countries. This mirrors the well-known finding by Shimer (2005) by which the standard search-and-matching model predicts too small fluctuations of unemployment rates over time. Introducing real wage rigidity remedies this problem.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel Felbermayr & Mario Larch & Wolfgang Lechthaler, 2012. "The Shimer-Puzzle of International Trade: A Quantitative Analysis," ifo Working Paper Series 134, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_134

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, January.
    2. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Mario Larch & Wolfgang Lechthaler, 2013. "Unemployment in an Interdependent World," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 262-301, February.
    3. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 39-73, January.
    4. A. Kerem Co?ar & Nezih Guner & James Tybout, 2016. "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 625-663, March.
    5. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
    6. Philipp Beltz & Susanne Link & Andreas Ostermaier, 2012. "Incentives for Students: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," ifo Working Paper Series 133, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    7. Carsten Eckel & Hartmut Egger, 2006. "Wage Bargaining and Multinational Firms in General Equilibrium," CESifo Working Paper Series 1711, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, July.
    9. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2011. "Factor Prices and International Trade: A Unifying Perspective," NBER Working Papers 16904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian Benz & Erdal Yalcin, 2013. "Quantifying the Economic Effects of an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement," CESifo Working Paper Series 4319, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Busl, Claudia & Seymen, Atılım, 2013. "The German labour market reforms in a European context: A DSGE analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-097, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Gadatsch, Niklas & Stähler, Nikolai & Weigert, Benjamin, 2016. "German labor market and fiscal reforms 1999–2008: Can they be blamed for intra-euro area imbalances?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 307-324.
    4. Gabriel Felbermayr & Mario Larch, 2013. "The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): Potentials, Problems and Perspectives," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 14(2), pages 49-60, August.
    5. Gabriel Felbermayr & Mario Larch & Finn Krüger & Lisandra Flach & Erdal Yalcin & Sebastian Benz, 2013. "Dimensionen und Auswirkungen eines Freihandelsabkommens zwischen der EU und den USA," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 62, October.
    6. Claudia Busl & Atilim Seymen, 2013. "(Spillover) Effects of Labour Market Reforms in Germany and France," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 8, WWWforEurope.
    7. Gabriel Felbermayr & Mario Larch & Lisandra Flach & Erdal Yalcin & Sebastian Benz & Finn Krüger, 2013. "Dimensionen und Effekte eines transatlantischen Freihandelsabkommens," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(04), pages 22-31, February.

    More about this item


    Spillover effects of labor market institutions; unemployment; international trade; search frictions; heterogeneous firms.;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms


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