Okun's Law : Fit at 50?

Author/Editor: Laurence M. Ball ; Daniel Leigh ; Prakash Loungani
Publication Date: January 14, 2013
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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate
Summary: This paper asks how well Okun’s Law fits short-run unemployment movements in the United States since 1948 and in twenty advanced economies since 1980. We find that Okun’s Law isa strong and stable relationship in most countries, one that did not change substantiallyduring the Great Recession. Accounts of breakdowns in the Law, such as the emergence of“jobless recoveries,” are flawed. We also find that the coefficient in the relationship—the effect of a one percent change in output on the unemployment rate—varies substantially across countries. This variation is partly explained by idiosyncratic features of national labormarkets, but it is not related to differences in employment protection legislation.
Series: Working Paper No. 13/10
Subject(s): Unemployment | United States | Developed countries | Labor markets | Cross country analysis | Economic models

Publication Date: January 14, 2013
ISBN/ISSN: 9781475574265/1018-5941 Format: Paper
Stock No: WPIEA2013010 Pages: 40
US$18.00 (Academic Rate:
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