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Understanding Unemployment Hysteresis: A system-based econometric approach to changing equilibria and slow adjustment

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  • Niels Framroze Møller

    (DTU Management Engineering, Energy Systems Analysis, Technical University of Denmark)

Abstract

What explains the persistence of unemployment? The literature on hysteresis, which is based on unit root testing in autoregressive models, consists of a vast number of univariate studies, i.e. that analyze unemployment series in isolation, but few multivariate analyses that focus on the sources of hysteresis. As a result, this question remains largely unanswered. This paper presents a multivariate econometric framework for analyzing hysteresis, which allows one to test different hypotheses about non-stationarity of unemployment against one another. For example, whether this is due to a persistently changing equilibrium, slow adjustment towards the equilibrium (persistent ?uctuations), or perhaps even a combination of the two. Different hypotheses of slow adjustment, as implied by theories of hysteresis, nominal rigidities or labor hoarding can also be compared. A small illustrative application to UK quarterly data on prices, wages, output, unemployment and crude oil prices, suggests that, for the period 1988 up to the onset of the financial crisis, the non-stationarity of UK unemployment cannot be explained as a result of slow adjustment, including sluggish wage formation as emphasized by the hysteresis theories. Instead, it is the equilibrium that has evolved persistently as a consequence of exogenous oil prices shifting the price setting relation (in the unemployment-real wage space) in a non-stationary manner.

Suggested Citation

  • Niels Framroze Møller, 2013. "Understanding Unemployment Hysteresis: A system-based econometric approach to changing equilibria and slow adjustment," Discussion Papers 13-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1306
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Niels Framroze Møller, 2013. "Understanding Unemployment Hysteresis: A system-based econometric approach to changing equilibria and slow adjustment," Discussion Papers 13-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hysteresis; Unemployment Hysteresis; Persistence; Cointegration; Structural VAR; Equilibrium unemployment; Multivariate Time series analysis; Price- and Wage Setting; Wage formation; Crude oil prices; UK unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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