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The Output Gap, the Labor Wedge, and the Dynamic Behavior of Hours

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  • Sala, Luca
  • Söderström, Ulf
  • Trigari, Antonella

Abstract

We use a standard quantitative business cycle model with nominal price and wage rigidities to estimate two measures of economic inefficiency in recent U.S. data: the output gap---the gap between the actual and efficient levels of output---and the labor wedge---the wedge between households' marginal rate of substitution and firms' marginal product of labor. We establish three results. (i) The output gap and the labor wedge are closely related, suggesting that most inefficiencies in output are due to the inefficient allocation of labor. (ii) The estimates are sensitive to the structural interpretation of shocks to the labor market, which is ambiguous in the model. (iii) Movements in hours worked are essentially exogenous, directly driven by labor market shocks, whereas wage rigidities generate a markup of the real wage over the marginal rate of substitution that is acyclical. We conclude that the model fails in two important respects: it does not give clear guidance concerning the efficiency of business cycle fluctuations, and it provides an unsatisfactory explanation of labor market and business cycle dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Sala, Luca & Söderström, Ulf & Trigari, Antonella, 2010. "The Output Gap, the Labor Wedge, and the Dynamic Behavior of Hours," CEPR Discussion Papers 8005, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jordi Galí & Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2012. "Unemployment in an Estimated New Keynesian Model," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 329-360.
    2. Groshenny, Nicolas, 2013. "Monetary Policy, Inflation And Unemployment: In Defense Of The Federal Reserve," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(06), pages 1311-1329, September.
    3. repec:ijc:ijcjou:y:2017:q:2:a:3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Slavtchev, Viktor & Wyrwich, Michael, 2017. "TV and entrepreneurship," IWH Discussion Papers 17/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    5. Wolters, Maik H., 2016. "How the baby boomers' retirement wave distorts model-based output gap estimates," Kiel Working Papers 2031, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Malgorzata Skibinska, 2016. "What drives the labour wedge? A comparison between CEE countries and the Euro Area," EcoMod2016 9061, EcoMod.
    7. Luca Sala, 2015. "Dsge Models in the Frequency Domains," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 219-240, March.
    8. Fabio Canova & Filippo Ferroni & Christian Matthes, 2014. "Choosing The Variables To Estimate Singular Dsge Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(7), pages 1099-1117, November.
    9. Francesco Furlanetto & Martin Seneca, 2012. "Rule-of-Thumb Consumers, Productivity, and Hours," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(2), pages 658-679, June.
    10. Igor Vetlov & Tibor Hlédik & Magnus Jonsson & Henrik Kucsera & Massimiliano Pisani, 2011. "Potential Output in DSGE Models," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 9, Bank of Lithuania.
    11. Skibińska, Małgorzata, 2016. "What drives the labour wedge? A comparison between CEE countries and the Euro Area," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 148-161.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business cycles; Efficiency; Labor markets; Monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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