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Aggregate demand, idle time, and unemployment

Michaillat, Pascal and Saez, Emmanuel (2013) Aggregate demand, idle time, and unemployment. NBER working papers (18826). NBER, Cambridge, USA.

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Abstract

This paper develops a model of unemployment fluctuations. The model keeps the architecture of the general-disequilibrium model of Barro and Grossman (1971) but takes a matching approach to the labor and product markets instead of a disequilibrium approach. On the product and labor markets, both price and tightness adjust to equalize supply and demand. Since there are two equilibrium variables but only one equilibrium condition on each market, a price mechanism is needed to select an equilibrium. We focus on two polar mechanisms: fixed prices and competitive prices. When prices are fixed, aggregate demand affects unemployment: with a higher aggregate demand, firms find more customers; this reduces the idle time of their employees and thus increases their labor demand; and this reduces unemployment. We combine the predictions of the model and empirical measures of product market tightness, labor market tightness, output, and employment to assess the sources of labor market fluctuations in the US. First, we find that the product market and labor market tightnesses fluctuate a lot, which implies that the fixed-price equilibrium describes the data better than the competitive-price equilibrium. Next, we find that labor market tightness and employment are positively correlated, which suggests that labor market fluctuations are mostly due to labor demand shocks and not to labor supply or mismatch shocks. Last, we find that product market tightness and output are positively correlated, which suggests that the labor demand shocks mostly reflect aggregate demand shocks and not technology shocks.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.nber.org/
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors Revised July 2013. This paper was previously circulated under the title "A theory of aggregate supply and aggregate demand as functions of market tightness with prices as parameters."
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
JEL classification: E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E1 - General Aggregative Models > E12 - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E2 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment > E24 - Macroeconomics: Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution (includes wage indexation)
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E3 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles > E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E6 - Macroeconomic Policy Formation, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, Macroeconomic Policy, and General Outlook > E63 - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization
Sets: Departments > Economics
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 14 May 2013 11:20
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2020 23:27
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/50248

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