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Shocks and rigidities as determinants of CEE labor markets' performance. A panel SVECM approach

Bukowski, Maciej and Koloch, Grzegorz and Lewandowski, Piotr (2008): Shocks and rigidities as determinants of CEE labor markets' performance. A panel SVECM approach.

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Abstract

In this paper the dynamic responses of labor markets to macroeconomic shocks in eight CEE countries are empirically analyzed in panel SVECM. Identification of shocks, interpreted as real wage, productivity, labor demand and supply shocks, is based on DSGE model with labor market explicitly modeled after Mortensen and Pissarides (1994). Fluctuations in foreign demand are controlled for and the model is estimated with panel procedure, which improves estimation's precision.

We show that propagation of shocks on NMS labor markets fairly resembles that characterizing OECD countries. Productivity improving shocks temporarily increase unemployment. Positive labor demand shocks increase employment, depress unemployment, rise real average wages, and were found to be the main determinant of variability of employment and unemployment in the short-run. In the medium term, in Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland innovations in wages seem to be prevalent drivers of employment and unemployment. The retrospective simulations of the model show that Baltic states and Poland were significantly affected by the collapse of Russian exports in late 1990s, and in 2000 an adverse labor demand shock hit all NMS, except for Hungary and Slovenia. However, the flexibility of wages is found to be crucial factor behind the diverse labor market performance in the region. Slovenia and Estonia fared best when it comes to flexibility of wages on macro level, on the other hand in Czech Republic, Lithuania and Poland downward wage rigidities were especially binding after employment-contracting shocks.

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