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Temporary shocks and unavoidable transitions to a high-unemployment regime

Listed author(s):
  • 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
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20030239
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  1. 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.
  2. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415.
  3. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1997. "Money in a real business cycle model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Nov, pages 568-623.
  4. Steve Nickell & Jan van Ours, 2000. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom: a European unemployment miracle?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 135-180, 04.
  5. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, "undated". "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," Working Papers 122, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Russell Cooper & Dean Corbae, 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 6094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:hhs:iuiwop:466 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Assar Lindbeck, 1996. "The West European employment problem," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 132(4), pages 609-637, December.
  9. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2000. "Liquidity Flows and Fragility of business Enterprises," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt3d899423, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  10. 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.
  11. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1998. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0407, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Ramon Marimon & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1997. "Unemployment vs. mismatch of talents: Reconsidering unemployment benefits," Economics Working Papers 211, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. 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 242-265, April.
  14. Marco Bassetto, 2002. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Working Papers 624, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. John Bryant, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-528.
  16. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 1999. "Job Destruction and the Experiences of Displaced Workers," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1rd0w96t, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  17. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
  18. Alfonso Novales & Jesús Ruiz, 2001. "Dynamic Laffer Curves," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 0106, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
  19. Christian Haefke, 2001. "Shocks and institutions in a job matching model," Economics Working Papers 568, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2001.
  20. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2001. "Rethinking Multiple Equilibria in Macroeconomic Modeling," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 139-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Garey Ramey & Wouter J. den Haan & Joel Watson, 2000. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 482-498, June.
  22. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents," Papers 661, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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