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The NAIRU Concept - Measurement uncertainties, hysteresis and economic policy role

Author

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  • P. McAdam
  • K. Mc Morrow

Abstract

The present paper looks at the notion of a NAIRU and asks whether it continues to stand up to rigorous analysis in terms of both its theoretical underpinnings or of its empirical applicability. The paper addresses the essential questions in relation to an examination of the NAIRU, namely: firstly can it be reliably calculated ? and secondly, does the concept continue to have any relevance in terms of the micro and macro policy debate ? In relation to the first question, it is stressed that precise measurements of the NAIRU are extremely difficult to produce because any measurement process is dogged by the existence of a number of fundamental sources of uncertainty. As regards the second question, the growing unease, openly articulated in the vast literature on this topic, concerning both the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of the NAIRU, suggests caution needs to be exercised in terms of any policy role being attributed to the concept. The paper tentatively concludes that while theoretically the NAIRU is still a useful concept, its extensive empirical inadequacies render it less than useful in the macro policy context, although a case can still be made for sustaining its use as a structural indicator for cross country, labour flexibility, comparisons.

Suggested Citation

  • P. McAdam & K. Mc Morrow, 1999. "The NAIRU Concept - Measurement uncertainties, hysteresis and economic policy role," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 136, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  • Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0136
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Julian Reiss, 2001. "Natural economic quantities and their measurement," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 287-311.
    2. Gómez García, F. & Rebollo Sanz, Y. & Usabiaga Ibáñez, C., 2002. "Nuevas estimaciones de la NAIRU de la economía española: métodos directos," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 20, pages 509-530, Diciembre.
    3. Ángel Estrada & Ignacio Hernando & J. David López-Salido, 2000. "Measuring the NAIRU in the Spanish Economy," Working Papers 0009, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    4. Claire Sensoli & Francisco Serranito & Thierry Latreille & Olivier Passet & Odile Chagny & Hélène Baudchon & Catherine Mathieu & Christine Rifflart & Hervé Péléraux & Henri Sterdyniak & Paola Veroni, 2000. "Tous ensemble ? Perspectives 2000-2001 pour l'économie mondiale," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2781, Sciences Po.
    5. Emilie Jašová & Božena Kadeřábková & Klára Čermáková & Pavel Procházka, 2016. "Působení institucionálních faktorů na strukturální a cyklickou nezaměstnanost v zemích Visegrádské skupiny
      [Influence of Institutional Factors on Structural and Cyclical Unemployment in the Countri
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2016(1), pages 34-50.
    6. Camarero, Mariam & Carrion-i-Silvestre, Josep Lluis & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2005. "Unemployment dynamics and NAIRU estimates for accession countries: A univariate approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 584-603, September.
    7. Département analyse et prévision de l'OFCE & Henri Sterdyniak & Hélène Baudchon & Odile Chagny & Thierry Latreille & Catherine Mathieu & Olivier Passet & Christine Rifflart & Claire Sensoli & Paola Ve, 2000. "Tous ensemble ?," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 73(1), pages 7-113.
    8. Božena Kadeřábková & Emilie Jašová, 2011. "Analýza ukazatele NAIRU na sektorové úrovni
      [Analysis of the Indicator NAIRU on the Sector Level]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(4), pages 508-525.
    9. Emilie Jašová & Božena Kaderábková, 2012. "Comparing NAIRU and Economic Cycle from the Perspective of Labour Market in the Countries of the Visegrad Group," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 4, pages 3-23.
    10. Mariam Camarero & Josep Lluis Carrion Silvestre & Cecilio Tamarit, 2005. "Unemployment dynamics and NAIRU estimates for CEECs : A univariate approach," Working Papers in Economics 131, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    11. Task Force of the Monetary Policy Committee of the European System of Central Banks, 2012. "Euro area labour markets and the crisis," Occasional Paper Series 138, European Central Bank.

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