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Labor Force Participation and Monetary Policy in the Wake of the Great Recession

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  • Erceg, Christopher
  • Levin, Andrew

Abstract

In this paper, we provide compelling evidence that cyclical factors account for the bulk of the post-2007 decline in the U.S. labor force participation rate. We then proceed to formulate a stylized New Keynesian model in which labor force participation is essentially acyclical during "normal times" (that is, in response to small or transitory shocks) but drops markedly in the wake of a large and persistent aggregate demand shock. Finally, we show that these considerations can have potentially crucial implications for the design of monetary policy, especially under circumstances in which adjustments to the short-term interest rate are constrained by the zero lower bound.

Suggested Citation

  • Erceg, Christopher & Levin, Andrew, 2013. "Labor Force Participation and Monetary Policy in the Wake of the Great Recession," CEPR Discussion Papers 9668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9668
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Avichai Snir & Daniel Levy, 2011. "Shrinking Goods and Sticky Prices: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2011-03, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    2. Stephanie Aaronson & Bruce Fallick & Andrew Figura & Jonathan Pingle & William Wascher, 2006. "The Recent Decline in the Labor Force Participation Rate and Its Implications for Potential Labor Supply," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(1), pages 69-154.
    3. Greg Howard & Robert F. Martin & Beth Anne Wilson, 2011. "Are recoveries from banking and financial crises really so different?," International Finance Discussion Papers 1037, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Kevin J. Fox & Daniel Melser, 2014. "Non-Linear Pricing and Price Indexes: Evidence and Implications from Scanner Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(2), pages 261-278, June.
    5. Macunovich, Diane J., 2009. "Reversals in the Patterns of Women's Labor Supply in the U.S., 1976-2009," IZA Discussion Papers 4512, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. John Bound & Timothy Waidmann, 2002. "Accounting for Recent Declines in Employment Rates among Working-Aged Men and Women with Disabilities," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 231-250.
    7. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Fernando Rios-Avila, 2012. "A closer look at nonparticipants during and after the Great Recession," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    8. Daniel Aaronson & Jonathan Davis & Luojia Hu, 2012. "Explaining the decline in the U.S. labor force participation rate," Chicago Fed Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Mar.
    9. Willem Van Zandweghe, 2012. "Interpreting the recent decline in labor force participation," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 5-34.
    10. Marianna Kudlyak & Felipe Schwartzman, 2012. "Accounting for unemployment in the Great Recession : nonparticipation matters," Working Paper 12-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    11. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Fernando Rios-Avila, 2013. "Identifying Factors behind the Decline in the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate," Business and Economic Research, Macrothink Institute, vol. 3(1), pages 257-275, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor force; policy tradeoffs; simple rules; unemployment rate;

    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
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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