Can animal spirits explain the dynamics of European unemployment?
We estimate a model with equilibrium unemployment explained by a search process on the labor market. We find that the matching function has increasing returns to scale and we show that this model may display fluctuations at business cycle frequencies even when there are no shocks to the fundamentals of the economy. In particular, self-fulfilling beliefs, or "animal spirits", can explain the fluctuations around the Beveridge curve observed in the French, German and U.K. economies.
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