IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The equilibrium rate of unemployment : a theoretical discussion and an empirical evaluation for six OECD countries

  • Odile Chagny

    (Centre Etudes & Prospective)

  • Frédéric Reynès

    (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek)

  • Henri Sterdyniak


This paper examines theoretically and empirically the controversial notion of “equilibrium rate of unemployment” (ERU) which opposes proponents of the Phillips curve to those of the WS/PS models. Theoretically, this paper shows that the specification of the wage equation has a significant influence on the ERU. It also shows that an “asymmetric” wage-price setting using a Phillips curve and a price equation in level allows a clear distinction between the medium run ERU and the long run ERU that can be seen as a reconciliation between WS/PS models and the Phillips curve. Moreover, this paper calculates ERU for 6 OECD countries (the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands) for the period 1970-late 1990’s by using a structural approach. As there are little studies that test directly the impact of institutional variables in a Phillips curve, the first empirical objective is to test this effect. The results in this matter are not really conclusive. The second objective is to calculate medium run and long run ERU. The evolutions of the medium run ERU explain relatively well those of the actual unemployment rate until the late eighties. Its determinants are the slowdown of productivity growth, the 2 oil shocks, the increase of employer’s social contribution and the change in the inflation target of the monetary authorities. In the nineties, the actual unemployment lies clearly above its equilibrium level suggesting that a big part of the European unemployment is due to an excess supply.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number n°2002-04.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/1905
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Belot, M.V.K. & van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Unemployment and labor market institutions : An empirical analysis," Other publications TiSEM 29a3de46-e7bc-4b3d-abe5-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. Bean, Charles R, 1994. "European Unemployment: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 573-619, June.
  3. Loïc Cadiou & Stéphanie Guichard, 1999. "Marchés du travail en Europe : Quelles conséquences pour l'Union Monétaire," Working Papers 1999-10, CEPII research center.
  4. Belot, M.V.K. & van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Unemployment and Labor Market Institutions : An Empirical Analysis," Discussion Paper 2001-50, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence Katz, 1999. "Wage Dynamics: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, July.
  8. Soskice, David, 1990. "Wage Determination: The Changing Role of Institutions in Advanced Industrialized Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 36-61, Winter.
  9. Gordon, Robert J, 1996. "The Time-varying NAIRU and its Implications for Economic Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1492, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1996. "What We Know and Do Not Know About the Natural Rate of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 5822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Christian Haefke, 2001. "Shocks and institutions in a job matching model," Economics Working Papers 568, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2001.
  12. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  13. Assar Lindbeck, 1993. "Unemployment and Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121751, June.
  14. Michael Bruno & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "Economics of Worldwide Stagflation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brun85-1, December.
  15. Burda, Michael C. & Weder, Mark, 2001. "Complementarity of labor market institutions, equilibrium unemployment and the propagation of business cycles," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,49, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  16. Yannick L'Horty & Christophe Rault, 2003. "Les causes du chômage en France. Une ré-estimation du modèle ws-ps," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(2), pages 271-294.
  17. Henri Sterdyniak & Michèle Debonneuil, 1984. "La boucle prix-salaires dans l'inflation," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 35(2), pages 267-312.
  18. William Brown & Sushil Wadhwani, 1990. "The Economic Effects of Industrial Relations Legislation Since 1979," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 131(1), pages 57-70, February.
  19. Loïc Cadiou & Stéphanie Guichard & Mathilde Maurel, 1999. "La diversité des marchés du travail en Europe : Quelles conséquences pour l'Union Monétaire," Working Papers 1999-11, CEPII research center.
  20. Silvia Fabiani & Alberto Locarno & Gian Paolo Oneto & Paolo Sestito, 1997. "NAIRU: Incomes Policy and Inflation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 187, OECD Publishing.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/1905. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Spire @ Sciences Po Library)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.