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Temporary Shocks and Unavoidable Transitions to a High-Unemployment Regime

  • 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
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3704
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  1. Lindbeck, Assar, 1996. "The West European Employment Problem," Working Paper Series 466, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Blanchard, Olivier J. & Summers, Lawrence H., 1987. "Fiscal increasing returns, hysteresis, real wages and unemployment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 543-560, April.
  3. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Working Paper Series 481, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1998. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0407, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, . "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," Working Papers 122, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. Schiantarelli, Fabio & Perotti, Roberto & Ardagna, Silvia & Alesina, Alberto, 2002. "Fiscal Policy, Profits, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4685103, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1999. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 266-91, April.
  13. Bassetto, Marco, 2005. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 79-105, September.
  14. Farmer, Roger E A, 1997. "Money in a Real Business Cycle Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 568-611, November.
  15. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents," Papers 661, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  16. Russell Cooper & Dean Corbae, 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 6094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Steve Nickell & Jan van Ours, 2000. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom: a European unemployment miracle?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 135-180, 04.
  18. 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 242-65, April.
  19. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2003. "Liquidity flows and fragility of business enterprises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1215-1241, September.
  20. Bryant, John, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-Type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-28, August.
  21. Wouter J. den Haan & Garey Ramey & Joel Watson, 1999. "Job Destruction and the Experiences of Displaced Workers," NBER Working Papers 7218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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