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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
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3704
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  1. 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.
  2. Daveri, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Roberto Perotti & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2002. "Fiscal Policy, Profits, and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 571-589, June.
  5. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2001. "Rethinking Multiple Equilibria in Macroeconomic Modeling," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 139-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Assar Lindbeck, 1996. "The West European employment problem," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 132(4), pages 609-637, December.
  7. Wouter J. den Haan & Garey Ramey & Joel Watson, 1997. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," NBER Working Papers 6275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Fiscal Increasing Returns, Hysteresis, Real Wages and Unemployment," Working papers 429, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1995. "The European unemployment dilemma," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 95-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents," Papers 661, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  11. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1997. "Money in a real business cycle model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Nov, pages 568-623.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Marco Bassetto, 2002. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Working Papers 624, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. 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.
  17. repec:hhs:iuiwop:466 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. 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.
  19. John Bryant, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-528.
  20. 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.
  21. Russell Cooper & Dean Corbae, 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 6094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
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