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High Discounts and High Unemployment

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  • Robert E. Hall

Abstract

In recessions, all types of investment fall, including employers' investment in job creation. The stock market falls more than in proportion to corporate profit. The discount rate implicit in the stock market rises, and discounts for other claims on business income also rise. According to the leading view of unemployment-the Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides model-when the incentive for job creation falls, the labor market slackens and unemployment rises. Employers recover their investments in job creation by collecting a share of the surplus from the employment relationship. The value of that flow falls when the discount rate rises. Thus high discount rates imply high unemployment. This paper does not explain why the discount rate rises so much in recessions. Rather, it shows that the rise in unemployment makes perfect economic sense in an economy where, for some reason, the discount rises substantially in recessions.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Hall, 2014. "High Discounts and High Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 19871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19871
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harald Uhlig, 2007. "Explaining Asset Prices with External Habits and Wage Rigidities in a DSGE Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 239-243, May.
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    3. Mark Gertler & Luca Sala & Antonella Trigari, 2008. "An Estimated Monetary DSGE Model with Unemployment and Staggered Nominal Wage Bargaining," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(8), pages 1713-1764, December.
    4. Jack Favilukis & Xiaoji Lin, 2012. "Wage Rigidity: A Solution to Several Asset Pricing Puzzles," 2012 Meeting Papers 589, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Jules van Binsbergen & Michael Brandt & Ralph Koijen, 2012. "On the Timing and Pricing of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1596-1618, June.
    6. Marcus Hagedorn & Fatih Karahan & Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman, 2013. "Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects," NBER Working Papers 19499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2016. "The Cyclicality of the Opportunity Cost of Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(6), pages 1563-1618.
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    9. Shigeru Fujita, 2011. "Effects of extended unemployment insurance benefits: evidence from the monthly CPS," Working Papers 10-35, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    10. Christopher J. Nekarda & Valerie A. Ramey, 2013. "The Cyclical Behavior of the Price-Cost Markup," NBER Working Papers 19099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jean-Pierre Danthine & John B. Donaldson, 2002. "Labour Relations and Asset Returns," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 41-64.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yashiv, Eran, 2016. "Aggregate Hiring and the Value of Jobs Along the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 11076, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Boitier, Vincent & Lepetit, Antoine, 2018. "Reduced form wage equations in the credible bargaining model," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 92-96.
    3. Frederico Belo & Xiaoji Lin & Jun Li & Xiaofei Zhao, 2015. "Labor-Force Heterogeneity and Asset Prices: the Importance of Skilled Labor," NBER Working Papers 21487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Anisha Ghosh & George M. Constantinides, 2017. "What Information Drives Asset Prices?," NBER Working Papers 23689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Yashiv, Eran, 2015. "Countercyclical Recruiting Rates and the Value of Jobs," IZA Discussion Papers 9364, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Andrew Phiri, 2017. "The Unemployment-Stock Market Relationship in South Africa: Evidence from Symmetric and Asymmetric Cointegration Models," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 15(3 (Fall)), pages 231-254.
    7. Eran Yashiv, 2016. "Capital Values and Job Values," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 19, pages 190-209, January.
    8. Virgiliu Midrigan & Elena Pastorino & Patrick Kehoe, 2014. "Debt Constraints and Unemployment," 2014 Meeting Papers 1118, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Boeri, Tito & Jimeno, Juan F., 2016. "Learning from the Great Divergence in unemployment in Europe during the crisis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 32-46.
    10. van Binsbergen, Jules H. & Koijen, Ralph S.J., 2017. "The term structure of returns: Facts and theory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 1-21.
    11. Julien Albertini & Arthur Poirier, 2014. "Discount Factor Shocks and Labor Market Dynamics," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2014-033, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    12. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2016. "Wage Posting and Business Cycles: a Quantitative Exploration," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 19, pages 135-160, January.
    13. repec:eee:macchp:v2-1427 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Carl Walsh, 2014. "Multiple Objectives and Central Bank Tradeoffs under Flexible Inflation Targeting," CESifo Working Paper Series 5097, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Mete Kilic & Jessica A. Wachter, 2015. "Risk, Unemployment, and the Stock Market: A Rare-Event-Based Explanation of Labor Market Volatility," NBER Working Papers 21575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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