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Slow recoveries and unemployment traps: monetary policy in a time of hysteresis
We analyze monetary policy in a model where temporary shocks can permanently scar the economy's productive capacity. Unemployed workers? skill losses generate multiple steady-state unemployment rates. When monetary policy is constrained by the zero bound, large shocks reduce hiring to a point where the economy recovers slowly at best?at worst, it falls into a permanent unemployment trap. Since monetary policy is powerless to escape such traps ex post, it must avoid them ex ante. The model quantitatively accounts for the slow U.S. recovery following the Great Recession, and suggests that lack ...
The Long-Run Effects of Monetary Policy
Is the effect of monetary policy on the productive capacity of the economy long lived? Yes, in fact we find such impacts are significant and last for over a decade based on: (1) merged data from two new international historical databases; (2) identification of exogenous monetary policy using the macroeconomic trilemma; and (3) improved econometric methods. Notably, the capital stock and total factor productivity (TFP) exhibit hysteresis, but labor does not. Money is non-neutral for a much longer period of time than is customarily assumed. A New Keynesian model with endogenous TFP growth can ...
Hysteresis via Endogenous Rigidity in Wages and Participation
We document that the past three ?jobless? recoveries also featured asymmetries in labor force participation and labor compensation, with each falling to new lows during each cycle. We model these asymmetries as resulting from a strategic complementarity in firms' wage setting and workers' job search strategies. Strategic complementarity results in a continuum of possible equilibria with higher-wage equilibria welfare dominating lower-wage equilibria. Assuming that no economic agent deviates from an existing strategy unless deviation is a unilateral best response, the model exhibits (1) ...
Some Like It Hot: Assessing Longer-Term Labor Market Benefits from a High-Pressure Economy
This paper explores evidence for positive hysteresis in the labor market. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth, we find that negative labor market outcomes during high unemployment periods are mitigated by exposure to a high-pressure economy during the preceding expansion. Breaking total exposure into intensity and duration suggests that these two dimensions have differing impacts. However, the benefits of exposure are not enough to overcome the greater negative impact of high unemployment periods on labor market outcomes of disadvantaged groups, making extension of ...
Escaping Unemployment Traps
Economic activity has remained subdued following the Great Recession. One interpretation of the listless recovery is that recessions inflict permanent damage on an economy?s productive capacity. For example, extended periods of high unemployment can lead to skill losses among workers, reducing human capital and lowering future output. This notion that temporary recessions have long-lasting consequences is often termed hysteresis. Another explanation for sluggish growth is the influential secular stagnation hypothesis, which attributes slow growth to long-term changes in the economy?s ...
Hysteresis in Employment among Disadvantaged Workers
We examine hysteresis in employment-to-population ratios among less-educated men using state-level data. Results from dynamic panel regressions indicate a moderate degree of hysteresis: The effects of past employment rates on subsequent employment rates can be substantial but essentially dissipate within three years. This finding is robust to a number of variations. We find no substantial asymmetry in the persistence of high vs. low employment rates. The cumulative effect of hysteresis in the business cycle surrounding the 2001 recession was mildly positive, while the effect in the cycle ...