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Temporary Shocks and Unavoidable Transitions to a High-Unemployment Regime

Listed author(s):
  • Den Haan, Wouter

This Paper develops a model with multiple steady states (low tax and low unemployment versus high tax and high unemployment) in which equilibrium selection is not conditioned on a sunspot variable. Instead, large temporary shocks initiate unavoidable transitions from one steady state to another. Tax policies have huge effects in some cases. In particular, it is possible that the transition to the high-unemployment steady state after a negative shock can be avoided if the government borrows to finance unemployment benefits, and in some cases it is even possible that a credible permanent tax cut would force the economy out of the high-unemployment steady state. The model is used to explain the high European unemployment rates in the 80’s and 90’s. The Paper argues that the increase in unemployment during the 70’s played a key role because it led to an increase in the obligation to pay unemployment benefits. The implied tax burden was so big that the transition to the high-unemployment regime was the unique equilibrium outcome.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3704.

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Date of creation: Jan 2003
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3704
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2000. "Rethinking Multiple Equilibria in Macroeconomic Modelling," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1260, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. den Haan, Wouter J. & Haefke, Christian & Ramey, Garey, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7x3544bn, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  3. repec:wop:calsdi:99-07r is not listed on IDEAS
  4. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2000. "Liquidity Flows and Fragility of Business Enterprises," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt2kc182ts, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  5. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1997. "Money in a real business cycle model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Nov, pages 568-623.
  6. Nickell, S. & Layard, R., 1997. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  7. repec:hhs:iuiwop:466 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Alfonso Novales & Jesús Ruiz, 2001. "Dynamic Laffer Curves," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 0106, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
  9. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 1999. "Job Destruction and the Experiences of Displaced Workers," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1rd0w96t, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  10. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, "undated". "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," Working Papers 122, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Fiscal Increasing Returns, Hysteresis, Real Wages and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 2034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Bassetto, Marco, 2005. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 79-105, September.
  14. van Ours, J.C. & Nickell, S.J., 2000. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom : A European unemployment miracle?," Other publications TiSEM 8dc4101d-6e72-44dd-9ab0-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  15. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Roberto Perotti & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2000. "Fiscal Policy, Profits, and Investment," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 504, Boston College Department of Economics.
  16. Cooper, R. & Corbae, D., 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," Working Papers 97-08, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  17. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-265, April.
  18. Ramon Marimon & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1997. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," NBER Working Papers 6038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. repec:wop:calsdi:97-23 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. John Bryant, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-528.
  21. Garey Ramey & Wouter J. den Haan & Joel Watson, 2000. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 482-498, June.
  22. Lindbeck, A, 1996. "The West European Employment Problem," Papers 616, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  23. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1996. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 36, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  24. repec:wop:calsdi:99-07 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents," Papers 661, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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