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Unemployment-Rate Dynamics and Persistent Unemployment Under Rational Expectations

  • Michael R. Darby
  • John C. Haltiwanger
  • Mark W. Plant

This paper develops a model of unemployment rate dynamics that provides an explanation of persistent cyclical unemployment that does not involve persistent expectational errors or other nonoptimizing behavior. Our results are based on the interaction of search dynamics and inventory adjustments. An important element in these dynamics appears to be heterogeneity in the labor force which can be characterized as consisting of a relatively small group of high turnover individuals who comprise the bulk of normal unemployment and a larger group of low turnover individuals who dominate movements in cyclical unemployment. Our empirical results provide support for this theory as we demonstrate that the appropriately measured probability of becoming employed during a recovery falls relative to normal because of the unusually high proportion of low turnover individuals who have lost "permanent" jobs. As aresult, recovery is much slower than is indicated by normal relationships although each individual is searching optimally.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1558.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1558.

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Date of creation: Feb 1985
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Publication status: published as Darby, Michael R., John C. Haltiwanger and Mark W. Plan. "Unemployment-Rate Dynamics and Persistent Unemployment Under Rational Expectations." American Economic Review, Vol. 75, No. 4, (September 1985), pp. 614-637.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1558
Note: LS
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  1. Barro, Robert J, 1977. "Unanticipated Money Growth and Unemployment in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 101-15, March.
  2. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
  3. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
  4. Michael L. Wachter, 1976. "The Changing Cyclical Responsiveness of Wage Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(1), pages 115-168.
  5. McCallum, Bennett T, 1979. "On the Observational Inequivalence of Classical and Keynesian Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-402, April.
  6. Jack Carr & Michael R. Darby, 1980. "The Role of Money Supply Shocks in the Short-Run Demand for Money," NBER Working Papers 0524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hall, Robert E, 1982. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 716-24, September.
  8. Stephen W. Salant, 1974. "Search theory and duration data: a theory of sorts," Special Studies Papers 42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Barron, John M, 1975. "Search in the Labor Market and the Duration of Unemployment: Some Empirical Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 934-42, December.
  10. Howitt, Peter, 1985. "Transaction Costs in the Theory of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 88-100, March.
  11. John Haltiwanger & Louis Maccini, 1984. "A Model of Inventory and Layoff Behavior Under Uncertainty," UCLA Economics Working Papers 321, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Akerlof, George A & Main, Brian G M, 1980. "Unemployment Spells and Unemployment Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 885-93, December.
  13. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1983. "The Production and Inventory Behavior of the American Automobile Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 365-400, June.
  14. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
  15. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Temporary Layoffs in the Theory of Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 937-57, October.
  16. Darby, Michael R, 1972. "The Allocation of Transitory Income Among Consumers' Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 928-41, December.
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