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The impact of growth on unemployment in a low vs. a high inflation environment

Listed author(s):
  • Tesfaselassie, Mewael F.
  • Wolters, Maik H.

The standard search model of unemployment predicts, under realistic assumptions about household preferences, that disembodied technological progress leads to higher steady-state unemployment. This prediction is at odds with the 1970s experience of slow productivity growth and high unemployment in industrial countries. We show that introducing nominal price rigidity helps in reconciling the model's prediction with experience. Faster growth is shown to lead to lower unemployment when inflation is relatively high, as was the case in the 1970s. In general, the sign of the effect of growth on unemployment is shown to depend on the level of steady-state inflation. There is a threshold level of inflation below (above) which faster growth leads to higher (lower) unemployment. The prediction of the model is supported by an empirical analysis based on US and European data.

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Paper provided by Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2017-01.

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Date of creation: 2017
Handle: RePEc:zbw:cauewp:201701
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  1. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1692-1706, September.
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  10. Tesfaselassie, Mewael F., 2013. "Trend productivity growth and the government spending multiplier," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 197-207.
  11. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & David Jestaz & Edmund S. Phelps & Gylfi Zoega, 2000. "Roots of the Recent Recoveries: Labor Reforms or Private Sector Forces?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 237-311.
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