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A system approach for measuring the euro area NAIRU


  • Fabiani, Silvia
  • Mestre, Ricardo


This paper addresses the issue of measuring the NAIRU for the euro area and assessing the robustness and precision of the obtained estimates. The empirical framework adopted is based on systems combining an Okun-type relationship between cyclical unemployment and the output gap with a Phillips curve and stochastic laws of motion for the NAIRU and potential output. Such systems have been estimated using Kalman-filter techniques. The aim of this approach is double: on the one hand, recent advances in the mentioned techniques are exploited, also with the aim of assessing the degree of uncertainty around the derived measures; on the other hand, the robustness of the approach is tested by looking at alternative versions of the systems themselves. The results obtained point to an estimate of the area-wide NAIRU that is robust to changes in the underlying models. This robustness is shown to hold both in terms of the mean - i.e., the shape of the resulting NAIRU - and the variance of the process. The latter is derived through bootstrap exercises using the models alone or pooled together. The evidence found suggests that the increase in the aggregate NAIRU that took place in the early part of the sample period has come to a halt and may be about to be reversed. The estimated final level for the NAIRU is around 10 per cent. Furthermore, the bootstrap exercises point to confidence bands close to 1 per cent around the estimated value. JEL Classification: C11, C15, E31, E32

Suggested Citation

  • Fabiani, Silvia & Mestre, Ricardo, 2001. "A system approach for measuring the euro area NAIRU," Working Paper Series 0065, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20010065

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Beveridge, Stephen & Nelson, Charles R., 1981. "A new approach to decomposition of economic time series into permanent and transitory components with particular attention to measurement of the `business cycle'," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 151-174.
    2. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
    3. Douglas Laxton & Guy Meredith & David Rose, 1995. "Asymmetric Effects of Economic Activity on Inflation: Evidence and Policy Implications," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(2), pages 344-374, June.
    4. Gerlach, Stefan & Smets, Frank, 1999. "Output gaps and monetary policy in the EMU area1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 801-812, April.
    5. Rasi, Chris-Marie & Viikari, Jan-Markus, 1998. "The time-varying NAIRU and potential output in Finland," Research Discussion Papers 6/1998, Bank of Finland.
    6. Apel, Mikael & Jansson, Per, 1999. "A theory-consistent system approach for estimating potential output and the NAIRU," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 271-275, September.
    7. Mikael Apel & Per Jansson, 1999. "System estimates of potential output and the NAIRU," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 373-388.
    8. Thomas Laubach, 2001. "Measuring The NAIRU: Evidence From Seven Economies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 218-231, May.
    9. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Laurence Boone, 2000. "Comparing Semi-Structural Methods to Estimate Unobserved Variables: The HPMV and Kalman Filters Approaches," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 240, OECD Publishing.
    11. Fabiani, Silvia & Mestre, Ricardo, 2000. "Alternative measures of the NAIRU in the euro area: estimates and assessment," Working Paper Series 0017, European Central Bank.
    12. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "The NAIRU, Unemployment and Monetary Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 33-49, Winter.
    13. Fagan, Gabriel & Henry, Jerome & Mestre, Ricardo, 2005. "An area-wide model for the euro area," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 39-59, January.
    14. Bauwens, Luc & Lubrano, Michel & Richard, Jean-Francois, 2000. "Bayesian Inference in Dynamic Econometric Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773139.
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    More about this item


    Bootstrap; Kalman filter; NAIRU; Unobserved Components;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles


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