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What Drives the NAIRU? Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries

  • Christian Gianella
  • Isabell Koske
  • Elena Rusticelli
  • Olivier Chatal

This paper analyses the determinants of structural unemployment rates in a two-stage approach. First, time-varying NAIRUs are estimated for a panel of OECD economies on the basis of Phillips curve equations using Kalman filter techniques. In a second stage, the estimated NAIRUs are regressed on selected policy and institutional variables. As predicted by theoretical wage-setting/price-setting models, the level of the tax wedge and the user cost of capital are found to be important drivers of structural unemployment. Consistent with earlier studies, the level of product market regulation, union density and the unemployment benefit replacement rate also play an important role in explaining changes in the NAIRU although there is considerable variation in estimates across countries. Nonetheless, the set of structural variables provides a reasonable explanation of NAIRU dynamics over the period 1978-2003, even though recent decreases are better explained than the earlier surge. Quels déterminants du NAIRU ? Évidence empirique à partir d'un panel de pays de l'OCDE Cette étude analyse les déterminants du taux de chômage structurel par une approche en deux étapes. Premièrement, des taux de chômage non inflationnistes (NAIRU) variables au cours du temps sont estimés sur la base de courbes de Phillips en utilisant les techniques de type filtre de Kalman. Dans une seconde étape, les NAIRUs estimés sont régressés sur une sélection de variables institutionnelles et de politique économique. Conformément aux prédictions théoriques de modèles de type WS PS «wage-setting/pricesetting », le niveau du coin fiscal et le coût d’usage du capital et apparaissent comme des déterminants-clés du chômage structurel. Conformément aux études précédentes, le niveau de réglementation sur le marché de biens, l’implantation syndicale et le taux de remplacement des allocations chômage jouent également un rôle important dans l’explication des variations du NAIRU bien qu'il y ait des différences considérables d’un pays á l’autre dans les résultats. Néanmoins, cet ensemble de variables structurelles s’avèrent avoir une capacité prédictive de la dynamique du NAIRU relativement élevée sur la période 1978-2003, même si la phase récente de reflux est mieux expliquée que la hausse préalable.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 649.

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Date of creation: 10 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:649-en
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