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Cliométrie du chômage et des salaires en France, 1950-2008

Michel-Pierre Chelini and Georges Prat

No 2011-29, EconomiX Working Papers from University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX

Abstract: From a macroeconomic perspective, this paper aims to represent the dynamics of the unemployment rate and of the variations of wages in France over the period of 1950-2008. On a theoretical level, the unemployment equation distinguishes a chronic factor characterized by an excess of real wages compared to the labor productivity gains, a conjunctural factor characterized by the difference between the growth rate of the production and its long term value, and a structural factor including frictional, technological and voluntary components of the unemployment. The wages' variations are classically supposed to depend on productivity gains and inflation. On the empirical level, estimations are made simultaneously for the unemployment and wages with a Space-State model based on the Kalman filter methodology. This econometric approach allows for the introduction of time varying parameters. In accordance with these hypotheses, the unemployment rate is shown to depend on the excess of the real hourly labor cost over the marginal productivity of labor (with a time varying sensibility), on the growth rate of the real GDP and on a structural component, which is about 4%. The chronic unemployment rate appeared in the beginning of the 1970s; at this time, it progressively increases to reach a maximum of 7.8% in 1994, then decreases to fall below 2% in 2008. The conjunctural component is in conformity with the Okun's law since it links negatively the unemployment rate with the production growth rate, this factor seeming to develop particularly after the 1973 oil shock. In addition, the results indicate a delayed influence of the above-mentioned factors on the unemployment, with an average period of influence of 3.3 years. Concerning wages, as expected, the rate of change in nominal wages is shown to be determined by the growth rate in productivity and by the inflation rate as well. The wages' elasticity with respect to price level appears to be time -varying, with a value close to the unit at the beginning of the period and ending up with a value close to zero by the end. This result must be connected with deflation, price/wage de-indexation, and labor unions' decreasing influence that are observed during the period.

Keywords: rate of unemployment; wages; French Economy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E24 J2 J30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 42 pages
Date: 2011
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab and nep-mac
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