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Is Unemployment on Steroids in Advanced Economies?

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  • Di Bella, Gabriel
  • Grigoli, Francesco
  • Ramírez, Francisco

Abstract

Despite conventional macroeconomic theory is based on the idea that demand shocks can only have temporary effects on unemployment, several European economies display highly persistent unemployment dynamics. The theory of hysteresis challenges this view and points out that, under certain conditions, demand disturbances can have permanent effects. In this paper, we find strong empirical evidence of unemployment hysteresis in advanced economies since the 1990s. Relying on an identification scheme instigated by an insider/outsider model, we study the effects of demand shocks allowing for cross-country heterogeneous dynamics, and exploit such heterogeneity to investigate what institutional settings have the potential to soften or amplify the effects of demand shocks. Our results indicate that strengthening labor market institutions that promote a faster adjustment of real wages, removing disincentives for firms to hire and for workers to be employed, and improving the matching between labor supply and labor demand can lessen the effects of adverse demand shocks and lead to a faster reversion of unemployment rates to pre-shock levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Bella, Gabriel & Grigoli, Francesco & Ramírez, Francisco, 2018. "Is Unemployment on Steroids in Advanced Economies?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 243, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:243
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 1-33, March.
    2. Gianni Amisano & Massimiliano Serati, 2003. "What goes up sometimes stays up: shocks and institutions as determinants of unemployment persistence," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(4), pages 440-470, September.
    3. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    4. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-1580, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Advanced economies; hysteresis; panel VAR; persistence; unemployment; unit root;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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