IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/17830.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What explains high unemployment? The aggregate demand channel

Author

Listed:
  • Atif R. Mian
  • Amir Sufi

Abstract

A drop in aggregate demand driven by shocks to household balance sheets is responsible for a large fraction of the decline in U.S. employment from 2007 to 2009. The aggregate demand channel for unemployment predicts that employment losses in the non-tradable sector are higher in high leverage U.S. counties that were most severely impacted by the balance sheet shock, while losses in the tradable sector are distributed uniformly across all counties. We find exactly this pattern from 2007 to 2009. Alternative hypotheses for job losses based on uncertainty shocks or structural unemployment related to construction do not explain our results. Using the relation between non-tradable sector job losses and demand shocks and assuming Cobb-Douglas preferences over tradable and non-tradable goods, we quantify the effect of aggregate demand channel on total employment. Our estimates suggest that the decline in aggregate demand driven by household balance sheet shocks accounts for almost 4 million of the lost jobs from 2007 to 2009, or 65% of the lost jobs in our data.

Suggested Citation

  • Atif R. Mian & Amir Sufi, 2012. "What explains high unemployment? The aggregate demand channel," NBER Working Papers 17830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17830
    Note: CF EFG ME
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17830.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2017. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1427-1467.
    2. Midrigan, Virgiliu & Philippon, Thomas, 2011. "Household Leverage and the Recession," CEPR Discussion Papers 8381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296.
    4. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
    5. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
    6. Robert E. Hall, 2011. "The Long Slump," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 431-469, April.
    7. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496.
    8. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2011. "House Prices, Home Equity-Based Borrowing, and the US Household Leverage Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2132-2156, August.
    9. Scott R. Baker & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis, 2016. "Measuring Economic Policy Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1593-1636.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Xavier Giroud & Holger M. Mueller, 2017. "Firm Leverage, Consumer Demand, and Employment Losses during the Great Recession," Working Papers 17-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Daniel I. Garcia, 2018. "Employment in the Great Recession : How Important Were Household Credit Supply Shocks?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-074, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Shoag, Daniel & Veuger, Stan, 2016. "Uncertainty and the geography of the great recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 84-93.
    4. Giroud, Xavier & Mueller, Holger M, 2015. "Firm Leverage and Unemployment during the Great Recession," CEPR Discussion Papers 10539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Xavier Giroud & Holger M. Mueller, 2015. "Firm Leverage and Unemployment during the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 21076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2015. "Household leveraging and deleveraging," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), pages 3-20, January.
    7. John Carter Braxton & Edward S. Knotek, 2014. "Consumer Debt Dynamics: Follow the Increasers," Working Papers (Old Series) 1401, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    8. Ricardo J Caballero & Alp Simsek, 2020. "A Risk-Centric Model of Demand Recessions and Speculation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(3), pages 1493-1566.
    9. Guerrieri, V. & Uhlig, H., 2016. "Housing and Credit Markets," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1427-1496, Elsevier.
    10. Guerrieri, Luca & Iacoviello, Matteo, 2017. "Collateral constraints and macroeconomic asymmetries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 28-49.
    11. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2019. "Credit Supply and the Housing Boom," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1317-1350.
    12. Mehrotra, Neil & Sergeyev, Dmitriy, 2021. "Financial shocks, firm credit and the Great Recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 296-315.
    13. Gropp, Reint E. & Krainer, John & Laderman, Elizabeth, 2014. "Did consumers want less debt? Consumer credit demand versus supply in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis," SAFE Working Paper Series 42, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    14. Nikolay Hristov & Markus Roth, 2019. "Uncertainty Shocks and Financial Crisis Indicators," CESifo Working Paper Series 7839, CESifo.
    15. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2016. "A Simple Model of Subprime Borrowers and Credit Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 543-547, May.
    16. Chow Sheung-Chi & Cunado Juncal & Gupta Rangan & Wong Wing-Keung, 2018. "Causal relationships between economic policy uncertainty and housing market returns in China and India: evidence from linear and nonlinear panel and time series models," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 22(2), pages 1-15, April.
    17. Daniel GarcĂ­a, 2020. "Employment in the Great Recession: How Important Were Household Credit Supply Shocks?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 52(1), pages 165-203, February.
    18. Zhenyu Gao & Michael Sockin & Wei Xiong, 2020. "Learning about the Neighborhood," NBER Working Papers 26907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Luc Laeven & Alexander Popov, 2017. "Waking Up from the American Dream: On the Experience of Young Americans during the Housing Boom of the 2000s," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(5), pages 861-895, August.
    20. Zhang, Yahong, 2019. "Household debt, financial intermediation, and monetary policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 230-257.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17830. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.