Hysteresis in Unemployment: Old and New Evidence

37 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2009 Last revised: 29 Jun 2010

Laurence Ball

Johns Hopkins University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Date Written: March 2009

Abstract

This paper argues that hysteresis helps explain the long-run behavior of unemployment. The natural rate of unemployment is influenced by the path of actual unemployment, and hence by shifts in aggregate demand. I review past evidence for hysteresis effects and present new evidence for 20 developed countries. A central finding is that large increases in the natural rate are associated with disinflations, and large decreases with run-ups in inflation. These facts are consistent with hysteresis theories and inconsistent with theories in which the natural rate is independent of aggregate demand.

Suggested Citation

Ball, Laurence, Hysteresis in Unemployment: Old and New Evidence (March 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14818. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1369054

Laurence M. Ball (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University - Department of Economics ( email )

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International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

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