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Labor market reforms, precautionary savings, and global imbalances

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  • Hochmuth, Brigitte
  • Moyen, Stephane
  • Stähler, Nikolai

Abstract

How do labor market reforms affect international competitiveness and net foreign assets? To answer this question, we build a two-region RBC model with labor market frictions, idiosyncratic consumption risk, and limited cross-sectional heterogeneity to establish a direct link between labor market reforms and changes in net foreign assets via a precautionary savings channel. We apply the model to simulate far-reaching labor market reforms in Germany during the mid-2000s. We find that reducing the generosity of unemployment benefits decreases wages, fosters employment and augments competitiveness as well as trade. In addition, we can explain a significant share of the observed increase in German net foreign assets. A standard representative agent framework is not able to generate any notable effects on net foreign assets and the current account.

Suggested Citation

  • Hochmuth, Brigitte & Moyen, Stephane & Stähler, Nikolai, 2019. "Labor market reforms, precautionary savings, and global imbalances," Discussion Papers 13/2019, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdps:132019
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment benefits reform; current account imbalances; precautionary savings; Hartz reform;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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