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Asymmetric Adjustment of Unemployment and Output in New Zealand: Rediscovering Okun's Law



Okun's law - the relationship between unemployment and output - is one of the best known empirical regularities in macroeconomics. It is an important relationship because the way in which unemployment reacts to changes in output has implications for labour market and monetary policies and for forecasting. Most specifications of Okun's law assume a symmetric relationship: expansions and contractions in output have the same absolute effect on unemployment. In this paper, we test this assumption against the alternative view that the relationship is asymmetric. We use New Zealand data from 1978 to 1999 and contemporary econometric techniques including asymmetric modelling. Our main finding is that changes in unemployment and output in New Zealand are related in both the long run and the short run but only if an asymmetric approach is taken.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Harris & Brian Silverstone, 2000. "Asymmetric Adjustment of Unemployment and Output in New Zealand: Rediscovering Okun's Law," Working Papers in Economics 00/02, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:00/02

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Javier J. Pérez & Jesús Rodríguez López & Teresa Leal, 2002. "Pautas cíclicas de la economía andaluza en el período 1984-2001: un análisis comparado," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/18, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    2. Javier J. Pérez & Jesús Rodríguez López & Carlos Usabiaga, 2002. "Análisis Dinámico de la Relación entre Ciclo Económico y Ciclo del Desempleo en Andalucía en Comparación con el Resto de España," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/07, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    3. Virén, Matti, 2000. "Cross-country Evidence on a Nonlinear Okun Curve," Discussion Papers 239, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    4. David Mayes & Matti Viren, 2002. "Asymmetry and the Problem of Aggregation in the Euro Area," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 47-73, March.
    5. Mayes, David & Virén, Matti, 2004. "Asymmetries in the Euro area economy," Research Discussion Papers 9/2004, Bank of Finland.

    More about this item


    Okun's law; asymmetric modelling; unemployment and output; New Zealand;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles


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