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The NAIRU - Concept: A Few Remarks

Author

Listed:
  • Pichelmann, Karl

    (Department of Economics, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna)

  • Schuh, Andreas-Ulrich

    (Ministry of Finance, Vienna)

Abstract

This note gives a brief survey of main theoretical and empirical issues with respect to the NAIRU concept. According to modern labour market literature NAIRU is defined as the rate of unemployment at which inflation stabilizes in the absence of any wage-price surprises. Conventional thinking about the equilibrium unemployment rate assumes that in the long run NAIRU is determined solely by supply side factors of the labour market. We show that quite complex adjustment dynamics may arise even in simple log-linear wage-price models. Furthermore we provide a survey on a number of "hysteresis-mechanisms" which could lead to permanent shifts of equilibrium unemployment over time, implying that an unique long run NAIRU may not even exist. In addition to theoretical issues we refer to two serious problems which might arise with empirical applications of the NAIRU concept. First various empirical studies suggest that results highly depend on model specifications. Second a considerable amount of statistical imprecision is inherent in the results obtained from empirical estimates. For these reasons, we argue, that policy conclusions drawn from the NAIRU concept must be judged with utmost care, particularly since in many countries a number of labour market measures as well as monetary policy are based on this concept.

Suggested Citation

  • Pichelmann, Karl & Schuh, Andreas-Ulrich, 1996. "The NAIRU - Concept: A Few Remarks," Economics Series 36, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:36
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    File URL: http://www.ihs.ac.at/publications/eco/es-36.pdf
    File Function: First version, 1996
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
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    3. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1994. "How Are Product Demand Changes Transmitted to the Labour Market?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 386-398, March.
    4. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Bean, Charles R, 1994. "European Unemployment: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 573-619, June.
    6. Setterfield, M. A. & Gordon, D. V. & Osberg, L., 1992. "Searching for a will o' the wisp : An empirical study of the NAIRU in Canada," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 119-136, January.
    7. Pagano, Marco, 1990. "Imperfect Competition, Underemployment Equilibria and Fiscal Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 440-463, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonella Palumbo, 2008. "I metodi di stima del PIL potenziale tra fondamenti di Teoria economica e Contenuto empirico," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0092, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    NAIRU; Hysteresis Mechanisms;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation

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