IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Aggregate Demand, Idle Time, and Unemployment

  • Pascal Michaillat
  • Emmanuel Saez

This paper develops a model of unemployment fluctuations. The model keeps the architecture of the general-disequilibrium model of Barro and Grossman (1971) but takes a matching approach to the labor and product markets instead of a disequilibrium approach. On the product and labor markets, both price and tightness adjust to equalize supply and demand. Since there are two equilibrium variables but only one equilibrium condition on each market, a price mechanism is needed to select an equilibrium. We focus on two polar mechanisms: fixed prices and competitive prices. When prices are fixed, aggregate demand affects unemployment: with a higher aggregate demand, firms find more customers; this reduces the idle time of their employees and thus increases their labor demand; and this reduces unemployment. We combine the predictions of the model and empirical measures of product market tightness, labor market tightness, output, and employment to assess the sources of labor market fluctuations in the US. First, we find that the product market and labor market tightnesses fluctuate a lot, which implies that the fixed-price equilibrium describes the data better than the competitive-price equilibrium. Next, we find that labor market tightness and employment are positively correlated, which suggests that labor market fluctuations are mostly due to labor demand shocks and not to labor supply or mismatch shocks. Last, we find that product market tightness and output are positively correlated, which suggests that the labor demand shocks mostly reflect aggregate demand shocks and not technology shocks.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at Free access is also available to older working papers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18826.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2015. "Aggregate Demand, Idle Time, and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(2), pages 507-569.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18826
Note: EFG ME
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Lünnemann, Patrick & Mathä, Thomas Y., 2006. "New survey evidence on the pricing behaviour of Luxembourg firms," Working Paper Series 0617, European Central Bank.
  2. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2002. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1986, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Pascal Michaillat, 2012. "A theory of countercyclical government multiplier," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54277, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Charles L. Evans, 1991. "Productivity shocks and real business cycles," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Nakamura, Emi & Steinsson, Jón, 2011. "Price setting in forward-looking customer markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 220-233.
  6. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew C. Weinzierl, 2011. "An Exploration of Optimal Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 17029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-79, December.
  8. Galí, Jordi & van Rens, Thijs, 2010. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 5099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2005. "Microfoundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 313-38, April.
  10. Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez & Camille Landais, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  12. Martins, Fernando, 2005. "The price setting behaviour of Portuguese firms: evidence from survey data," Working Paper Series 0562, European Central Bank.
  13. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  14. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2010. "Labor Markets and Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Model with Unemployment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-30, April.
  15. Basu, Susanto, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-51, August.
  16. Klemperer, Paul D, 1987. "Entry Deterrence in Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 99-117, Supplemen.
  17. Loupias, Claire & Ricart, Roland, 2004. "Price setting in France: new evidence from survey data," Working Paper Series 0423, European Central Bank.
  18. John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson & Lucia Foster, 2010. "The Slow Growth of New Plants: Learning about Demand?," 2010 Meeting Papers 128, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Greg Kaplan & Guido Menzio, 2013. "Shopping Externalities and Self-Fulfilling Unemployment Fluctuations," Working Papers 1461, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  20. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Wage Determination and Efficiency in Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 217-27, April.
  21. Josef Baumgartner & Claudia Kwapil & Johann Scharler, 2005. "The Price-Setting Behavior of Austrian Firms: Some Survey Evidence," Working Papers 100, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  22. Robert E. Hall, 1980. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 0560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Lehmann, Etienne & Van Der Linden, Bruno, 2010. "Search Frictions On Product And Labor Markets: Money In The Matching Function," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 56-92, February.
  25. Rothstein, Jesse, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt5611t356, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  26. Moen, E.R., 1995. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Memorandum 37/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  27. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
  28. Aysegül Sahin & Joseph Song & Giorgio Topa & Giovanni L. Violante, 2012. "Mismatch unemployment," Staff Reports 566, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  29. Norman Morin & John Stevens, 2004. "Estimating capacity utilization from survey data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  30. François Gourio & Leena Rudanko, 2014. "Customer Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(3), pages 1102-1136.
  31. Roger E. A. Farmer, 2008. "Aggregate demand and supply," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 4(1), pages 77-93.
  32. Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-94, May.
  33. Pascal Michaillat, 2010. "Do Matching Frictions Explain Unemployment? Not in Bad Times," CEP Discussion Papers dp1024, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  34. Petrosky-Nadeau, Nicolas & Wasmer, Etienne, 2015. "Macroeconomic dynamics in a model of goods, labor, and credit market frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 97-113.
  35. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  36. Álvarez, Luis J. & Hernando, Ignacio, 2005. "The price setting behaviour of Spanish firms: evidence from survey data," Working Paper Series 0538, European Central Bank.
  37. Luc Aucremanne & Martine Druant, 2005. "Price-setting behaviour in Belgium: what can be learned from an ad hoc survey ?," Working Paper Research 65, National Bank of Belgium.
  38. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
  39. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  40. Drazen, Allan, 1980. "Recent Developments in Macroeconomic Disequilibrium Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 283-306, March.
  41. Hall, Simon & Walsh, Mark & Yates, Anthony, 2000. "Are UK Companies' Prices Sticky?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 425-46, July.
  42. Nicolas Petrovsky-Nadeau & Etienne Wasmer, 2011. "Macroeconomic Dynamics in a Model of Goods, Labor and Credit Market Frictions," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5l6uh8ogmqi, Sciences Po.
  43. Edward P. Lazear & James R. Spletzer, 2012. "The United States Labor Market: Status Quo or A New Normal?," Working Papers 12-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  44. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Labor Hoarding and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 245-73, April.
  45. John Shea, 1999. "What Do Technology Shocks Do?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 275-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  46. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-47, October.
  47. Barro, Robert J & Grossman, Herschel I, 1971. "A General Disequilibrium Model of Income and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 82-93, March.
  48. Atif R. Mian & Amir Sufi, 2012. "What explains high unemployment? The aggregate demand channel," NBER Working Papers 17830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  49. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  50. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Short-run Equilibrium Dynamics of Unemployment Vacancies, and Real Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 676-90, September.
  51. Hart, Oliver, 1982. "A Model of Imperfect Competition with Keynesian Features," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 109-38, February.
  52. Rachel E. Kranton & Deborah F. Minehart, 2001. "A Theory of Buyer-Seller Networks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 485-508, June.
  53. Aucremanne, Luc & Druant, Martine, 2005. "Price-setting behaviour in Belgium: what can be learned from an ad hoc survey?," Working Paper Series 0448, European Central Bank.
  54. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/5l6uh8ogmqildh09h481l2tb5 is not listed on IDEAS
  55. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Paul Krugman, 2012. "Debt, Deleveraging, and the Liquidity Trap: A Fisher-Minsky-Koo Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1469-1513.
  56. Bils, Mark, 1989. "Pricing in a Customer Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 699-718, November.
  57. Fabiani, Silvia & Gattulli, Angela & Sabbatini, Roberto, 2004. "The pricing behaviour of Italian firms: new survey evidence on price stickiness," Working Paper Series 0333, European Central Bank.
  58. Ven Der Linden B. & Lehmann E., 2006. "Search Frictions on Product and Labor markets," Working Papers ERMES 0604, ERMES, University Paris 2.
  59. Edward C. Prescott, 2006. "Nobel Lecture: The Transformation of Macroeconomic Policy and Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 203-235, April.
  60. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1977. " The Logic of the Fix-price Method," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 79(2), pages 169-86.
  61. Robert E. Hall, 2008. "General Equilibrium with Customer Relationships: A Dynamic Analysis of Rent-Seeking," 2008 Meeting Papers 312, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  62. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Can Government Purchases Stimulate the Economy?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 673-85, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18826. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.