Welfare Implications of Heterogeneous Labor Markets in a Currency Area
42 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2010
Date Written: February 2008
This paper investigates the role of labor markets heterogeneity in a monetary union and especially what are the welfare gains/costs of labor market reforms for each member of the area. To this end, we develop a medium-scale two-country model representing a currency union characterized by price and wage stickiness, real rigidities and labor market frictions. We make various scenarios of labor market reform and seek to determine the direction in which a country has an incentive to direct it from a welfare perspective. We find that the choice of the instrument to direct a reform (aiming at reducing the home unemployment rate) has drastic welfare implications in the union. Reforming the domestic labor market by a stronger regulation seems to give the best output. The analysis also shows that labor markets heterogeneity has sizeable effects on the amount of welfare gains, following a reform. The more flexible the foreign labor market, the higher its welfare. Finally, a sensitivity analysis shows that (i) the way the monetary authorities conduct their policy has negligible welfare effects but (ii) the size of a country in the monetary union is far to be neutral.
Keywords: DSGE model, currency union, heterogeneity, matching frictions, welfare
JEL Classification: C3, C5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation