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The Rise and Fall of Spanish Unemployment: A Chain Reaction Theory Perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Marika Karanassou

    (Queen Mary, University of London and IZA)

  • Hector Sala

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and IZA)

Abstract

The evolution of Spanish unemployment has been quite idiosyncratic. The full-employment levels of the early seventies were followed by unemployment rates that were the highest within the OECD countries in the aftermath of the oil price shocks. While unemployment was extremely persistent in most of the eighties and nineties, it experienced its sharpest decline in recent years. We investigate the determinants of this unemployment trajectory using the analytical framework of the chain reaction theory (CRT). We show that unemployment may not gravitate towards its natural rate due to frictional growth, a phenomenon that arises from the interplay of lagged adjustment processes and growing exogenous variables in a dynamic system with spillovers. The empirical analysis distinguishes four periods: (i) 1978-1985, (ii) 1986-1990, (iii) 1991-1994, (iv) 1995-2005, and finds that capital accumulation is a crucial driving force of unemployment. Thus, our theoretical and empirical results question the key role of the natural rate in policy making.

Suggested Citation

  • Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala, 2008. "The Rise and Fall of Spanish Unemployment: A Chain Reaction Theory Perspective," Working Papers 633, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:633
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala & Pablo F. Salvador, 2008. "Capital accumulation and unemployment: new insights on the Nordic experience," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(6), pages 977-1001, November.
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    7. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala & Dennis J. Snower, 2010. "Phillips Curves And Unemployment Dynamics: A Critique And A Holistic Perspective," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 1-51, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Bande & Marika Karanassou, 2014. "Spanish Regional Unemployment Revisited: The Role of Capital Accumulation," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(11), pages 1863-1883, November.
    2. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala, 2010. "Labour Market Dynamics in Australia: What Drives Unemployment?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(273), pages 185-209, June.
    3. Martin Leites & Sylvina Porras, 2013. "El enfoque de la Reacción en Cadena: una aplicación para explicar la dinámica del desempleo en Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 13-11, Instituto de Economia - IECON.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour market dynamics; Frictional growth; Chain reaction theory; Capital accumulation; Impulse response function;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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