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Temporary Shocks and Unavoidable Transistions to a High-Unemployment Regime

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  • Wouter J. DenHaan

Abstract

This paper develops a model with multiple steady states (low tax and low unemployment versus high tax and high unemployment) in which equilibrium selection is not conditioned on a sunspot variable. Instead, large temporary shocks initiate unavoidable transitions from one steady state to another. Tax policies have huge effects in some cases. In particular, it is possible that the transition to the high-unemployment steady state after a negative shock can be avoided if the government borrows to finance unemployment benefits, and in some cases it is even possible that a credible permanent tax cut would force the economy out of the high-unemployment steady state. The model is used to explain the high European unemployment rates in the 80's and 90's. The paper argues that the increase in unemployment during the 70's played a key role because it led to an increase in the obligation to pay unemployment benefits. The implied tax burden was so big that the transition to the highunemployment regime was the unique equilibrium outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Wouter J. DenHaan, 2002. "Temporary Shocks and Unavoidable Transistions to a High-Unemployment Regime," NBER Working Papers 9349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9349
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2003. "Liquidity flows and fragility of business enterprises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1215-1241, September.
    2. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
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    8. den Haan, Wouter J. & Haefke, Christian & Ramey, Garey, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7x3544bn, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    9. repec:hhs:iuiwop:466 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Cooper, R. & Corbae, D., 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," Working Papers 97-08, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
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    13. Garey Ramey & Wouter J. den Haan & Joel Watson, 2000. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 482-498, June.
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    17. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2000. "Job destruction and the experiences of displaced workers," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 87-128, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Raurich, Xavier & Sala, Hector & Sorolla, Valeri, 2006. "Unemployment, Growth, And Fiscal Policy: New Insights On The Hysteresis Hypothesis," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 285-316, June.
    2. Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 235-259, April.
    3. Sener, Fuat, 2006. "Labor market rigidities and R&D-based growth in the global economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 769-805, May.
    4. Ortigueira, Salvador, 2006. "Skills, search and the persistence of high unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2165-2178, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General
    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium

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