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The Inflation-Output Tradeoff: Which Type of Labor Market Rigidity Is to Be Blamed?

  • Christian Merkl

In the standard New Keynesian sticky price model the central bank faces no contradiction between the stabilization of inflation and the stabilization of the welfare relevant output gap after a productivity shock hits the economy. When the standard model is enhanced by real wage rigidities or labor turnover costs, an endogenous short-run inflation-output tradeoff arises. This paper compares the implications of the two labor market rigidities. It argues that economists and policymakers alike should pay more attention to labor turnover costs for the following reasons. First, a model with labor turnover costs generates impulse response functions that are more in line with the empirical evidence than those of a model with real wage rigidities. Second, labor turnover costs are the dominant source for the inflation-output tradeoff when both rigidities are present in the model. And finally, there is stronger empirical evidence for the existence of labor turnover costs than for real wage rigidities

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1495.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1495
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  1. Christian Merkl & Tom Schmitz, 2009. "Macroeconomic Volatilities and the Labor Market: First Results from the Euro Experiment," Kiel Working Papers 1511, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  3. Thomas Lubik & Michael Krause, 2003. "The (Ir)relevance of Real Wage Rigidity in the New Keynesian Model with Search Frictions," Economics Working Paper Archive 504, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  4. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2007. "Real Wage Rigidities and the New Keynesian Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 35-65, 02.
  5. Lechthaler, Wolfgang & Merkl, Christian & Snower, Dennis J., 2008. "Monetary Persistence and the Labor Market: A New Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 3513, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Faia, Ester, 2006. "Optimal monetary policy rules with labor market frictions," Working Paper Series 0698, European Central Bank.
  7. Dedola, Luca & Neri, Stefano, 2004. "What Does A Technology Shock Do? A VAR Analysis with Model-based Sign Restrictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4537, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Merkl, Christian & Snower, Dennis J., 2006. "The Caring Hand that Cripples: The East German Labour Market after Reunification," CEPR Discussion Papers 5656, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Jordi Gali, 1999. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 249-271, March.
  10. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino, 2003. "What Have We Learned About the Employment Effects of Severance Pay? Further Iterations of Lazear et al," IZA Discussion Papers 943, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Christoffel, Kai & Linzert, Tobias, 2006. "The role of real wage rigidity and labor market frictions for unemployment and inflation dynamics," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,11, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  12. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Juan Botero, 2003. "The Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 9756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Guido Ascari & Christian Merkl, 2007. "Real Wage Rigidities and the Cost of Disinflations," Kiel Working Papers 1312, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  14. Faia, Ester & Lechthaler, Wolfgang & Merkl, Christian, 2009. "Labor Turnover Costs, Workers' Heterogeneity, and Optimal Monetary Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 4322, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Christian Haefke & Marcus Sonntag & Thijs van Rens, 2009. "Wage Rigidity and Job Creation," Kiel Working Papers 1504, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  16. Christoffel, Kai & Kuester, Keith, 2008. "Resuscitating the wage channel in models with unemployment fluctuations," Working Paper Series 0923, European Central Bank.
  17. Mirko Abbritti; Sebastian Weber, 2008. "Labor Market Rigidities and the Business Cycle: Price vs. Quantity Restricting Institutions," IHEID Working Papers 01-2008, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised Jan 2008.
  18. Blanchard, Olivier J & Galí, Jordi, 2008. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Shocks: Why are the 2000s so Different from the 1970s?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6631, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Price Shocks: Why are the 2000s so different from the 1970s?," Working Papers 0711, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  20. Barro, Robert J., 1977. "Long-term contracting, sticky prices, and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 305-316, July.
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