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Temporary shocks and unavoidable transitions to a high-unemployment regime

  • Den Haan, Wouter J.

This paper develops a model with multiple steady states (low tax and unemployment rate versus high tax and unemployment rate) in which equilibrium selection is not conditioned on a sunspot variable. Instead, large enough shocks initiate unavoidable transitions from one regime to the other. The predictions of this paper are consistent with the persistent increase of European unemployment rates observed during the seventies. The explanation given is that even if the unemployment rate would decrease it can only do so gradually because of matching frictions which in turn implies that the tax burden remains high and job creation remains low making the return to a low unemployment rate impossible. The paper shows that in some cases transition to the low-unemployment regime is not possible when tax rates are adjusted each period to balance the budget even though this would be possible under an alternative policy with lower tax rates and (temporary) budget deficits. JEL Classification: D50, C62, E24, E62, J64

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0239.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20030239
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  1. Wouter J. den Haan & Garey Ramey & Joel Watson, 1997. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," NBER Working Papers 6275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nickell, S.J. & van Ours, J.C., 1999. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom : A European Unemployment Miracle?," Discussion Paper 1999-119, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Wouter Den Haan & Christian Haefke & Garey Ramey, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," NBER Working Papers 8463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2000. "Rethinking Multiple Equilibria in Macroeconomic Modelling," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1260, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Roberto Perotti & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2002. "Fiscal Policy, Profits, and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 571-589, June.
  6. Russell Cooper & Dean Corbae, 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 6094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 178, Stockholm School of Economics.
  9. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Fiscal Increasing Returns, Hysteresis, Real Wages and Unemployment," Working papers 429, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, . "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," Working Papers 122, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1998. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0407, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Marco Bassetto, 2002. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Working Papers 624, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-84119 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Novales, Alfonso & Ruiz, Jesus, 2002. "Dynamic Laffer curves," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 181-206, December.
  15. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2000. "Job destruction and the experiences of displaced workers," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 87-128, June.
  16. Assar Lindbeck, 1996. "The West European employment problem," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 132(4), pages 609-637, December.
  17. Roger E.A. Farmer, 1996. "Money In A Real Business Cycle Model," UCLA Economics Working Papers 757, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," Seminar Papers 661, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  19. Wouter den Haan & Garey Ramey & Joel Watson, 1999. "Liquidity Flows and Fragility of Business Enterprises," NBER Working Papers 7057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. van Ours, J.C. & Nickell, S.J., 2000. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom : A European unemployment miracle?," Other publications TiSEM 8dc4101d-6e72-44dd-9ab0-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  21. Bryant, John, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-Type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-28, August.
  22. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents," Papers 661, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  23. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-65, April.
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