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The Rise and Fall of Spanish Unemployment: A Chain Reaction Theory Perspective

  • Karanassou, Marika

    ()

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Sala, Hector

    ()

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

The evolution of Spanish unemployment has been quite idiosyncratic. The full employment levels of the early seventies were followed by unemployment rates that were the highest within the OECD countries in the aftermath of the oil price shocks. While unemployment was extremely persistent in most of the eighties and nineties, it experienced its sharpest decline in recent years. We investigate the determinants of this unemployment trajectory using the analytical framework of the chain reaction theory (CRT). We show that unemployment may not gravitate towards its natural rate due to frictional growth, a phenomenon that arises from the interplay of lagged adjustment processes and growing exogenous variables in a dynamic system with spillovers. The empirical analysis distinguishes four periods: (i) 1978–1985, (ii) 1986–1990, (iii) 1991–1994, (iv) 1995–2005, and finds that capital accumulation is a crucial driving force of unemployment. Thus, our theoretical and empirical results question the key role of the natural rate in policy making.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3712.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer (eds.), International Papers in Political Economy, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3712
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  1. Philip Arestis & Michelle Baddeley & Malcolm Sawyer, 2007. "The Relationship Between Capital Stock, Unemployment And Wages In Nine Emu Countries," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 125-148, 04.
  2. Roberto Bande & Marika Karanassou, 2009. "Labour market flexibility and regional unemployment rate dynamics: Spain 1980-1995," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 181-207, 03.
  3. Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector & Salvador, Pablo F., 2006. "The (Ir)relevance of the NRU for Policy Making: The Case of Denmark," IZA Discussion Papers 2397, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  8. Raurich, Xavier & Sala, Hector & Sorolla, Valeri, 2004. "Unemployment, Growth and Fiscal Policy: New Insights on the Hysteresis Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 1127, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala & Pablo F. Salvador, 2008. "Capital accumulation and unemployment: new insights on the Nordic experience," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(6), pages 977-1001, November.
  10. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345, March.
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  15. Polo, Clemente & Sancho, Ferran, 1993. "An analysis of Spain's integration in the EEC," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 157-178, April.
  16. Rod Cross & Julia Darby & Jonathan Ireland & Laura Piscitelli, 1999. "Hysteresis and Unemployment: a Preliminary Investigation," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 721, Society for Computational Economics.
  17. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Dolado, J J & Malo de Molina, J L & Zabalza, A, 1986. "Spanish Industrial Unemployment: Some Explanatory Factors," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S313-34, Supplemen.
  19. Marika Karanassou & Dennis J. Snower, 2002. "Unemployment Invariance," Working Papers 476, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  20. Eichengreen, Barry, 2001. "The EMS Crisis in Retrospect," CEPR Discussion Papers 2704, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Garrido, Luis & Toharia, Luis, 2004. "What does it take to be (counted as) unemployed? The case of Spain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 507-523, August.
  22. Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector & Snower, Dennis, 2003. "Unemployment in the European Union: a dynamic reappraisal," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 237-273, March.
  23. Sosvilla-Rivero, Simón & Herce, José A., 2008. "European cohesion policy and the Spanish economy: A policy discussion case," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 559-570.
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