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Unemployment and Productivity in the Long Run: the Role of Macroeconomic Volatility

  • Benigno, Pierpaolo
  • Ricci, Luca Antonio
  • Surico, Paolo

We propose a theory of low-frequency movements in unemployment based on asymmetric real wage rigidities. The theory generates two main predictions: long-run unemployment increases with (i) a fall in long-run productivity growth and (ii) a rise in the variance of productivity growth. Evidence based on U.S. time series and on an international panel strongly supports these predictions. The empirical specifications featuring the variance of productivity growth can account for two U.S. episodes which a linear model based only on long-run productivity growth cannot fully explain. These are the decline in long-run unemployment over the 1980s and its rise during the late 2000s.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8014.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8014
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  1. Tim W. Cogley, 2003. "Drifts and Volatilities: Monetary Policies and Outcomes in the Post War U.S," Working Papers 35, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Du Caju, Philip & Fuss, Catherine & Wintr, Ladislav, 2009. "Understanding sectoral differences in downward real wage rigidity: workforce composition, institutions, technology and competition," Working Paper Series 1006, European Central Bank.
  3. Thomas J. Sargent & Paolo Surico, 2011. "Two Illustrations of the Quantity Theory of Money: Breakdowns and Revivals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 109-28, February.
  4. P. Du Caju & C. Fuss & L. Wintr, 2012. "Sectoral differences in downward real wage rigidity: workforce composition, institutions, technology and competition," Journal of Labour Market Research, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 7-22, March.
  5. Henry Siu & Nir Jaimovich, 2007. "The Young, the Old, and the Restless: Demographics and Business Cycle Volatility," 2007 Meeting Papers 521, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Fagan, Gabriel & Messina, Julián, 2009. "Downward wage rigidity and optimal steady-state inflation," Working Paper Series 1048, European Central Bank.
  7. Holden, Steinar & Wulfsberg, Fredrik, 2009. "How strong is the macroeconomic case for downward real wage rigidity?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 605-615, May.
  8. Timothy Cogley & Thomas Sargent, . "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 2132872, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  9. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi, 2006. "Sudden Stops and Phoenix Miracles in Emerging Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 405-410, May.
  10. Pierpaolo Benigno & Luca Antonio Ricci, 2010. "The Inflation-Output Trade-off with Downward Wage Rigidities," EIEF Working Papers Series 1020, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2010.
  11. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
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