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Are House Prices Responsible for Unemployment Persistence?

Ekkehard Ernst () and Faten Saliba
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Faten Saliba: University of Manchester

Open Economies Review, 2018, vol. 29, issue 4, No 6, 795-833

Abstract: Abstract The paper analyses the ambiguous role of house prices and housing investment for unemployment dynamics. Whereas traditional models see an increase in house prices as a dynamic multiplier that contributes positively to business cycle swings, the paper considers additional transmission mechanisms via the competitiveness channel (wages) and productivity. As house prices rise, wages tend to follow in order to make up for the loss in real disposable income, which limits employment creation. In addition, with rising house prices, the relative size of the construction sector – a low-productivity industry – tends to increase, lowering aggregate productivity growth, further dampening competitiveness. The paper estimates a stylised dynamic general equilibrium model with unemployment flows. Introducing different transmission mechanisms through which the housing market influences labour and macroeconomic dynamics, the size and direction of the housing market channel is being analysed. The estimation results show that housing shocks can have long-lasting negative effects on employment even though a housing boom can generate a short-lived stimulus on growth and employment. The paper also offers some policy advice simulating housing shocks under different types of structural reforms and macro-prudential regulation.

Keywords: Housing market; House prices; Unemployment; Competitiveness; Asset price booms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J64 J23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s11079-018-9494-z

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