Three years after the beginning of the Great Recession, the US unemployment rate remains at 9%, double its pre-crisis level. This column suggests the credit crunch may be behind this high number. It argues this is not because lower debt impairs the hiring ability of firms, but because it places firms in a less favourable bargaining position, allowing workers to negotiate higher wages, and thus reducing employment.
Tommaso Monacelli, Vincenzo Quadrini, Antonella Trigari, 18 October 2011
Roger Farmer, 18 August 2011
One explanation for the 2007-09 global crisis is that consumers, markets, and politicians were gripped by “irrational exuberance” that led them to believe the record-high house prices and stock prices were sustainable. This column proposes a new explanation based on rational behaviour and microeconomic theory. It argues that however high stock prices rise, there is always an equilibrium in which they can rise further.
Erik Hurst, Loukas Karabarbounis, Mark Aguiar, 17 August 2011
When jobs are scarce, what else is there to do? This column looks at data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and finds that roughly 30% to 40% of time not spent working is put towards increased “home” production, 30% of time is allocated to increased sleep time and increased television watching, while other leisure activities make up a further 20% of the foregone market work hours.
Jennifer C Smith, 18 July 2011
Labour-market policy can try to make it easier to get hired or harder to get fired. This column asks which of these approaches policymakers should prioritise. Focusing on the UK, it finds that while job-finding rates could be improved, policies aimed at reducing the amount of job losses during a recession play an equally important role despite being less in vogue.
Alfonso Rosolia, Federico Cingano, 17 July 2011
If you lose your job, can you find a new one with a little help from your friends? This column presents evidence that displaced Italian workers with more employable friends and social contacts are unemployed for a shorter period of time.
Marga Peeters, 02 June 2011
After the drama of Egypt’s revolution comes the economic reality – one of the catalysts for regime change was the country’s high unemployment. This column shows that the growing number of young people entering the job market will only add to the pressure. It argues that job creation in the private sector should be the number one priority for stimulating Egypt’s economic growth.
Pierella Paci, Ana Revenga, Bob Rijkers, 19 April 2011
When a crisis hits, how should policymakers move to save jobs? This column reviews the evidence from policy responses to recent crises, highlighting the importance of being prepared. It finds that countries with prudent fiscal management and sound policy infrastructure tend to suffer relatively smaller and shorter negative shocks than others.
Hermann Gartner, Christian Merkl, 09 March 2011
Policymakers the world over are staring at the strength of the German economy with envious eyes. This column argues that the root of Germany’s miracle lies in its “wage moderation” that was the result of labour-market policies in the years preceding the global crisis – a point that is often ignored in the public debate.
Nicolas Groshenny, 02 February 2011
Was monetary policy in the US too easy between 2002 and 2006? This column argues "no”. It shows that the large and persistent deviations from the Taylor rule over that period were indeed consistent with the pursuit of the Federal Reserve's dual mandate.
Pierre Cahuc, Stéphane Carcillo, 01 February 2011
One method for combating unemployment during the global crisis has been the use of short-time work schemes that allow employers to temporarily reduce hours worked while compensating workers for the induced loss of income. In the first of two columns on labour markets, the authors present new evidence establishing that these schemes do indeed reduce unemployment. But they are no panacea and are not without their own problems.
Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, Greg Wright, 18 November 2010
Manufacturing production and employment in the US has been in decline over recent decades, often with the finger pointed at immigration and globalisation. This column presents evidence from the US between 2000 and 2007 to show that immigrant and native workers are more likely to compete against offshoring than against each other. Moreover, offshoring's productivity gains can spur greater demand for native workers.
Andreas Knabe, Ronnie Schöb, Joachim Weimann, 17 November 2010
“We were happy in those days… Because we were poor”, goes the old Monty Python sketch. This column suggests there might be some shred of truth in this joke. It finds that while unemployed people report being less satisfied with their life in general, their emotional wellbeing experienced during day-to-day activities does not seem to suffer at all.
Roger Farmer, 08 November 2010
CEPR Discussion Paper 8100 re-examines the ability of old-Keynesian and new-Keynesian models to cope with persistence of unemployment. The author argues the an import input of persistent unemployment is the "animal spirits" of the unemployed. He tests an old-Keynesian model in which the Phillips curve is replaced by a belief function and finds it a better fit for the data than new-Keynesian variants.
Elisa Gamberoni, Erik von Uexkull, Sebastian Weber, 29 September 2010
How do trade and labour market institutions affect employment during a crisis? This column finds that trade openness leads to sharper drops in employment, but also faster recoveries. High severance pay dampens employment contraction and very high unemployment benefits are associated with a stronger contraction. These findings suggest that global employment is set to remain stagnant for 2010 before recovering in 2011.
Matthew Kahn, Matthew Kotchen, 21 August 2010
Is concern for the environment a luxury good? This column presents data from Google searches for the words “unemployment” and “global warming” by US users. It argues that recessions increase concerns about unemployment at the expense of people’s interest in climate change – in some cases leading them to deny its existence.
Jan van Ours, Bas van der Klaauw, 19 August 2010
Rising unemployment has forced policymakers to look for ways to get the unemployed back to work – to raise the “reemployment” rate of the unemployed. This column provides new evidence from the Netherlands suggesting that the stick of benefit sanctions is much more effective than the carrot of reemployment bonuses.
Otaviano Canuto, José Manuel Salazar, 28 June 2010
Economic integration transmitted the negative shocks of the crisis to workers across the world. As the global economic recovery begins, this column says that there is no cause for complacency or celebration. It warns that unemployment rates are expected to remain high in many countries and recommends designing government policies so that more may share in the gains from globalisation.
Hans Genberg, Wenlang Zhang, 25 April 2010
Would an increase in Chinese domestic demand meaningfully reduce global imbalances and improve US and European employment prospects? This column says that Chinese policy has a relatively small impact on developed economies' macroeconomic circumstances. It estimates that major reduction in Chinese saving would improve US employment by less than one quarter of a percentage point.
Roger Farmer, 06 January 2010
Most policymakers subscribe to the existence of a natural rate of unemployment. This column provides a visual history of unemployment, vacancies, and inflation in the US and says there is no natural rate. It suggests the economy can rest in any equilibrium on the Beveridge curve, as decided by the confidence of households and firms that pins down asset values.
Francesco D'Amuri, Juri Marcucci, 16 December 2009
The demand for up-to-date economic indicators has led researchers to use Google to improve the predictive power of their models. This column presents evidence from the US and Italy that using search trends on Google significantly increases the accuracy of forecasting unemployment.