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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. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1998. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0407, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bassetto, Marco, 2005. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 79-105, September.
  5. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 178, Stockholm School of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2003. "Liquidity flows and fragility of business enterprises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1215-1241, September.
  8. Novales, Alfonso & Ruiz, Jesus, 2002. "Dynamic Laffer curves," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 181-206, December.
  9. Ramon Marimon & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1997. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," NBER Working Papers 6038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Cooper, R. & Corbae, D., 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," Working Papers 97-08, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  12. Den Haan, Wouter & Haefke, Christian & Ramey, Gary, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 2970, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Unemployment, growth and taxation in industrial countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 47-104, 04.
  14. Alesina, Alberto F & Ardagna, Silvia & Perotti, Roberto & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1999. "Fiscal Policy, Profits and Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2250, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Lindbeck, A, 1996. "The West European Employment Problem," Papers 616, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  17. 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.
  18. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  19. Farmer, Roger E A, 1997. "Money in a Real Business Cycle Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 1630, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents," Papers 661, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  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.
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