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Macroeconomic Volatilities and the Labor Market: First Results from the Euro Experiment

  • Christian Merkl
  • Tom Schmitz

This paper analyzes the effects of different labor market institutions on inflation and output volatility. The eurozone offers an unprecedented experiment for this exercise: since 1999, no national monetary policies have been implemented that could account for volatility differences across member states, but labor market characteristics have remained very diverse. We use a New Keynesian model with unemployment to predict the effects of different labor market institutions on macroeconomic volatilities. In our subsequent empirical estimations, we find that higher labor turnover costs have a statistically significant negative effect on output volatility, while replacement rates have a positive effect, both of which are in line with theory. Real wage rigidities do not seem to play much of a role. This result is in line with our employed labor market model, but stands in stark contrast to the search and matching model. While labor market institutions have a large effect on output volatility, they do not seem to have much of an effect on inflation volatility. Our estimations indicate that the latter is driven instead to a certain extent by differences in government spending volatility

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1511.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1511
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  1. Tine Dhont & Freddy Heylen, 2008. "Why Do Europeans Work (Much) Less? It Is Taxes And Government Spending," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(2), pages 197-207, 04.
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  3. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:4:p:1339-1382 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Wolfgang Lechthaler & Christian Merkl & Dennis Snower, 2008. "Monetary Persistence and the Labor Market: A New Perspective," Kiel Working Papers 1409, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
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  12. Krause, Michael U. & Lubik, Thomas A., 2007. "The (ir)relevance of real wage rigidity in the New Keynesian model with search frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 706-727, April.
  13. Mirko Abbritti & Andreas Mueller, 2007. "Asymmetric Labor Market Institutions in the EMU: positive and normative implications," Economics wp37, Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland.
  14. Wilke, Ralf A., 2004. "New Estimates of the Duration and Risk of Unemployment for West-Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-26, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. 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.
  16. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2007. "Shocks and frictions in US business cycles: a Bayesian DSGE approach," Working Paper Series 0722, European Central Bank.
  17. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2010. "Why EMU is not a failure," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-11, March.
  18. Faia, Ester, 2007. "Ramsey monetary policy with labour market frictions," Working Paper Series 0707, European Central Bank.
  19. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
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  23. Manuel Toledo & Jose I. Silva, 2005. "Labor Turnover Costs and the Cyclical Behavior of Vacancies and Unemployment," 2005 Meeting Papers 775, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  25. Chen, Yu-Fu & Funke, Michael, 2008. "Threshold Effects of Dismissal Protection Regulation and the Emergence of Temporary Work Agencies," SIRE Discussion Papers 2008-05, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
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  29. repec:oup:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:3:p:381-402 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Snower, Dennis J. & Merkl, Christian, 2006. "The Caring Hand that Cripples: The East German Labor Market After Reunification (Detailed Version)," IZA Discussion Papers 2066, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  31. Nicholai Benalal & Juan Luis Diaz del Hoyo & Beatrice Pierluigi & Nikiforos Vidalis, 2006. "Output growth differentials across the euro area countries - some stylised facts," Occasional Paper Series 45, European Central Bank.
  32. Rother, Philipp, 2004. "Fiscal policy and inflation volatility," Working Paper Series 0317, European Central Bank.
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