U.S. natural rate dynamics reconsidered
Several features of the U.S. natural rate of unemployment are reconsidered through specification and testing of econometric models. Traditionally, the choice has been between a wage Phillips curve model, PCM, or an equilibrium correction wage curve model, WECM. The models proposed in this paper feature extended equilibrium correction which reduces the consequences for natural rate dynamics of choosing between wage models. In order for the difference between PCM and WECM to become important, the extended equilibrium correction mechanism must be ‘switched off’ by restrictions. These restrictions are rejected when tested. The analysis supports the original view that natural rates depend on the macroeconomic system, rather than just the wage Phillips curve. The analysis indicates a reduction of the natural rate in the course of the 1990s, due to low worker bargaining power and other structural changes. The estimated reduction is approximately 0.5 0.8 percentage points, which is less than existing results based on Phillips curve estimation.
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