Essays on Unemployment and Real Exchange Rates
Abstract: In the first essay, Persistence in Swedish Unemployment Rates, we study if there is no or weak tendency in unemployment rates to revert back to previous levels. Persistence is caused by: natural rate shocks, long unemployment cycles, and spill-over from cyclical to permanent unemployment. We find evidence of high persistence. The results suggest that the quick rise of unemployment rates during 1992-1994 was caused by large permanent and cyclical shocks in combination with spill-over effects.In the second essay, The Equilibrium Rate of Unemployment in a Small Open Economy, we challenge the common and simplifying assumption that the economy is closed. We set up and estimate a structural unobserved components open economy model for the unemployment rate and the real exchange rate. Our estimates indicate that the foreign sector is of substantial importance when explaining movements in the NAIRU.In the third essay, A Simultaneous Model of the Swedish Krona, the US Dollar and the Euro, we simultaneously estimate the real exchange rates between the Swedish Krona, the US Dollar and the Euro. The exchange rate movements are well explained by potential output, the output gap, terms of trade, the fraction of prime-aged people in the population, and structural government budget deficits. The models work well in an out of sample exercise.In the last essay, Wages, Employment, and Unemployment: The Effect of Benefits, Taxes and Labor Mobility, we study how wages and employment are affected by unemployment insurance and labor mobility. We show that the wage effect of higher unemployment benefits can be either positive or negative, depending on the specification of union utility function and the taxation scheme for financing the benefits. The common claim that wages are lower when a sector bears a higher fraction of unemployment costs does not hold in general. We also show that labor mobility across sectors and increased competition reduces wages and unemployment.
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