Labor Market Dyncamics in Chile: the Role of Terms of Trade Shocks
In this paper we explore the channels through which the terms of trade affect labor market variables in an emerging economy such as Chile. In doing so, we analyze the cyclical properties of labor market variables and use a structural vector autoregressive model to analyze the empirical responses of variables such as unemployment rate, job finding rate, sectoral employment and sectoral average labor productivity to terms of trade shocks in the case of Chile, which come from two main sources: the mining and the non-mining sector. We then develop a multi-sector model with search frictions that generates fluctuations in the unemployment rate. Using a calibrated version of this model for Chile, we analyze the ability of the model to replicate the observed responses of labor market variables to terms of trade shocks. We find that the model can predict quantitatively the effects of labor market variables to non-mining terms of trade shocks. Although the model is able to obtain responses to mining price changes qualitatively similar to what is estimated in the data, it falls short to the estimated magnitude of reduction in unemployment that follows a rise in mining prices. The presence of very high wage rigidity can help to generate a sharper fall in unemployment after a mining terms of trade rise. Finally, the model remarks a more intense sectoral labor reallocation in response to terms of trade shocks than the amount estimated in the data.
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