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Labor market institutions and inflation volatility in the euro area

By Alessia Campolmi and Ester Faia

Abstract

Despite having had the same currency for many years, EMU countries still have quite different inflation dynamics. In this paper we explore one possible reason: country specific labor market institutions, giving rise to different inflation volatilities. When unemployment insurance schemes differ, as they do in EMU, reservation wages react differently in each country to area-wide shocks. This implies that real marginal costs and inflation also react differently. We report evidence for EMU countries supporting the existence of a cross-country link over the cycle between labor market structures on the one side and real wages and inflation on the other. We then build a DSGE model that replicates the data evidence. The inflation volatility differentials produced by asymmetric labor markets generate welfare losses at the currency area level of approximately 0.3% of steady state consumption.Inflation volatility Labor market institutions EMU

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