NBER Working Papers by Ryan Michaels

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Working Papers

February 2008Marginal Jobs, Heterogeneous Firms, & Unemployment Flows
with Michael W. L. Elsby: w13777
This paper introduces a notion of fir m size into a search and matching model with endogenous job destruction. The outcome is a rich, yet analytically tractable framework that can be used to analyze a broad set of features of both the cross section and the dynamics of the aggregate labor market. In a set of quantitative applications we show that the model can provide a coherent account of a) the salient features of the distributions of employer size, and employment growth across establishments; b) the amplitude and propagation of cyclical fluctuations in flows between employment and unemployment; c) the negative comovement of unemployment and vacancies in the form of the Beveridge curve; and d) the dynamics of the distribution of employer size over the business cycle.
March 2007Three Great American Disinflations
with Michael D. Bordo, Christopher Erceg, Andrew Levin: w12982
This paper analyzes the role of transparency and credibility in accounting for the widely divergent macroeconomic effects of three episodes of deliberate monetary contraction: the post-Civil War deflation, the post-WWI deflation, and the Volcker disinflation. Using a dynamic general equilibrium model in which private agents use optimal filtering to infer the central bank's nominal anchor, we demonstrate that the salient features of these three historical episodes can be explained by differences in the design and transparency of monetary policy, even without any time variation in economic structure or model parameters. For a policy regime with relatively high credibility, our analysis highlights the benefits of a gradualist approach (as in the 1870s) rather than a sudden change in policy (a...
January 2007The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment
with Michael W. Elsby, Gary Solon: w12853
One of the strongest trends in recent macroeconomic modeling of labor market fluctuations is to treat unemployment inflows as acyclical. This trend stems in large part from an influential paper by Shimer on "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," i.e., the extent to which increased unemployment during a recession arises from an increase in the number of unemployment spells versus an increase in their duration. After broadly reviewing the previous literature, we replicate and extend Shimer's main analysis. Like Shimer, we find an important role for increased duration. But contrary to Shimer's conclusions, we find that even his own methods and data, when viewed in an appropriate metric, reveal an important role for increased inflows to unemployment as well. This finding is furth...

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