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The Impact of Tax, Product and Labour Market Distortions on the Phillips Curve and the Natural Rate of Unemployment

Listed author(s):
  • Bokan, Nikola
  • Hughes Hallett, Andrew

Most people accept that structural and labour market reforms are needed in Europe. However few have been undertaken. The usual conjecture is that reforms are costly in economic performance and costly to finance. Blanchard and Giavazzi (2003) and Spector (2004) develop a general equilibrium model with imperfect competition to show the impact of labour or product market deregulation. We extend that model to combine both reforms, and include the costs of financing them, the conflict between long run gains and short run costs, and to allow for reforms of distortionary taxation. We also extend the model to explain the natural rate of unemployment and non-wage employment costs, to show the impact of reform on the short and long run Phillips curve parameters. We find that structural reforms imply short run costs but long run gains (unemployment rises and then falls, while wages move in the opposite way); that the long run gains outweigh the short run costs; and that the financing of such reforms is the main stumbling block. We also find that the implications for welfare improvements and employment generation are quite different: tax reforms are more effective for welfare, but market liberalisation for employment.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2007-42.

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Date of creation: 2007
Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:6169
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  1. Harris Dellas & George Tavlas, 2005. "Wage Rigidity and Monetary Union," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 907-927, October.
  2. Morten O. Ravn & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2004. "The Macroeconomics of Subsistence Points," NBER Working Papers 11012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
  4. Hallett, Andrew Hughes & Jensen, Svend E. Hougaard & Richter, Christian, 2005. "The European economy at the cross roads: Structural reforms, fiscal constraints, and the Lisbon Agenda," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 229-250, June.
  5. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, January.
  6. Bruno, Michael, 1986. "Aggregate Supply and Demand Factors in OECD Unemployment: An Update," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages 35-52, Supplemen.
  7. Ogaki, Masao & Reinhart, Carmen M., 1998. "Intertemporal substitution and durable goods: long-run data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 85-90, October.
  8. Masao Ogaki & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1998. "Measuring Intertemporal Substitution: The Role of Durable Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 1078-1098, October.
  9. Spector, David, 2004. "Competition and the capital-labor conflict," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 25-38, February.
  10. Coenen, Günter & McAdam, Peter & Straub, Roland, 2008. "Tax reform and labour-market performance in the euro area: A simulation-based analysis using the New Area-Wide Model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 2543-2583, August.
  11. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1992. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1153-1207, December.
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