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Labor Market Rigidity and Business Cycle Volatility

Author

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  • Jung, Philip
  • Kuhn, Moritz

Abstract

Comparing labor markets of the United States and Germany over the period 1980 − 2004 uncovers three stylized differences: (1) transition rates from unemployment to employment (UE) were lower by a factor of 5 and inflow rates from employment to unemployment (EU) were lower by a factor of 4 in Germany. (2) The volatility of the UE rate was equal but the EU rate was 2.3 times more volatile in Germany. (3) In Germany EU flows contributed 60 − 70% to the unemployment volatility while in the U.S. they contributed only 30−40%. We show that these differences can be largely explained by a single factor, namely a lower efficiency in matching unemployed workers to open positions in Germany. Alternative explanations like employment protection, the benefit system, union power, or rigid earnings are likely not the main driving force for the cross-country difference. The lower matching efficiency leads to a substantial propagation of shocks. After an adverse shock peak unemployment is reached after 3 quarters in the United States but only after 9 quarters in Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Jung, Philip & Kuhn, Moritz, 2011. "Labor Market Rigidity and Business Cycle Volatility," MPRA Paper 48946, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48946
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/48946/1/MPRA_paper_48946.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tom Krebs & Martin Scheffel, 2013. "Macroeconomic Evaluation of Labor Market Reform in Germany," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(4), pages 664-701, December.
    2. Alain Serres & Fabrice Murtin, 2014. "Unemployment at risk: the policy determinants of labour market exposure to economic shocks," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 29(80), pages 603-637, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business Cycle Fluctuations; Labor Market Institutions; Unemployment; Endogenous Separation;

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • 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
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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