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Aggregate Demand, Idle Time, and Unemployment

Author

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  • Pascal Michaillat

    (London School of Economics)

  • Emmanuel Saez

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

This paper develops a model of unemployment fluctuations. The model keeps the architecture of the Barro and Grossman (1971) general disequilibrium model but replaces the disequilibrium framework on the labor and product markets by a matching framework. On the product and labor markets, both price and tightness adjust to equalize supply and demand. There is one more variable than equilibrium condition on each market, so we consider various price mechanisms to close the model, from completely flexible to completely rigid. With some price rigidity, aggregate demand influences unemployment through a simple mechanism: higher aggregate demand raises the probability that firms find customers, which reduces idle time for firms’ employees and thus increases labor demand, which in turn reduces unemployment. We use the comparative-statistics predictions of the model together with empirical measures of quantities and tightnesses to re-examine the origins of labor market fluctuations. We conclude that (1) price and real wage are not fully flexible because product and labor market tightness fluctuate significantly; (2) fluctuations are mostly caused by labor demand and not labor supply shocks because employment is positively correlated with labor market tightness; and (3) labor demand shocks mostly reflect aggregate demand and not technology shocks because output is positively correlated with product market tightness.

Suggested Citation

  • Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Aggregate Demand, Idle Time, and Unemployment," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 14-214, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:14-214
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    aggregate demand; unemployment; matching frictions; business cycles;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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