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Unemployment and the Productivity Slowdown: A Labour Supply Perspective

  • Campbell leith
  • Chol-Won Li

Many OECD economies suffered a productivity slowdown beginning in the early 1970s. However, the increase in unemployment that followed this slowdown was more pronounced in European economies relative to the US. In this paper we present an efficiency wage model, which enables us to identify five channels through which the productivity slowdown can affect workers’ effort incentives. We argue that this model can explain the different trends in unemployment across countries over this period in the face of a similar slowdown in productivity. We also demonstrate how the link between growth and unemployment depends upon labour market institutions in such a way that we can reconcile the mixed empirical results observed in the literature.

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Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2001_13.

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Date of creation: Aug 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2001_13
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1994. "Growth and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 477-94, July.
  2. Kimball, Miles S, 1994. "Labor-Market Dynamics When Unemployment is a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1045-59, September.
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  4. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1992. "The High Unemployment Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 670, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Eriksson, Clas, 1997. "Is There a Trade-Off between Employment and Growth?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 77-88, January.
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  7. Boeri, Tito, 1998. "Enforcement of Employment Security Regulations, On-The-Job Search and Unemployment Duration," CEPR Discussion Papers 1850, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : II. New directions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 309-341.
  9. Michael Woodford, 1994. "Structural Slumps," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1784-1815, December.
  10. Manning, Alan, 1992. "Multiple equilibria in the British labour market : Some empirical evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1333-1365, October.
  11. Hoon, Hian Teck & Phelps, Edmund S., 1997. "Growth, wealth and the natural rate: Is Europe's jobs crisis a growth crisis?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 549-557, April.
  12. C Bean & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1992. "Unemployment, Consumption and Growth," CEP Discussion Papers dp0100, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Van Ewijk, Casper, 1997. "Entry and Exit, Cycles, and Productivity Growth," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 167-87, April.
  14. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  15. Alan Manning, 1992. "Productivity Growth, Wage Setting and the Equilibrium Rate of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0063, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  16. V. Anton Muscatelli & Patrizio Tirelli, 2001. "Unemployment and growth: some empirical evidence from structural time series models," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(8), pages 1083-1088.
  17. Anton B. T. M. Van Schaik & Henri L. F. De Groot, 1998. "Unemployment and Endogenous Growth," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 12(2), pages 189-219, 07.
  18. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1998. "Technological Progress, Job Creation and Job Destruction," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(4), pages 733-753, October.
  19. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  20. Galor, Oded & Lach, Saul, 1990. "Search Unemployment in an Overlapping-Generations Setting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 409-19, May.
  21. Postel-Vinay, Fabien, 1998. "Transitional dynamics of the search model with endogenous growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1091-1115, May.
  22. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Campbell leith & Chol-Won Li, 2001. "Wage Inequality and the Effort Incentive Effects of Technical Progress," Working Papers 2001_14, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  23. Acemoglu, Daron, 2001. "Credit market imperfections and persistent unemployment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 665-679, May.
  24. Martin, Philippe & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1995. "Stabilization Policy, Learning by Doing, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1130, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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