This paper investigates the role of labor markets heterogeneity in a monetary union and especially what are the welfare gains/costs of labor market reforms for each member of the area. To this end, we develop a medium-scale two-country model representing a currency union characterized by price and wage stickiness, real rigidities and labor market frictions. We make various scenarios of labor market reform and seek to determine the direction in which a country has an incentive to direct it from a welfare perspective. We find that the choice of the instrument to direct a reform (aiming at reducing the home unemployment rate) has drastic welfare implications in the union. Reforming the domestic labor market by a stronger regulation seems to give the best output. The analysis also shows that labor markets heterogeneity has sizeable effects on the amount of welfare gains, following a reform. The more flexible the foreign labor market, the higher its welfare. Finally, a sensitivity analysis shows that (i) the way the monetary authorities conduct their policy has negligible welfare effects but (ii) the size of a country in the monetary union is far to be neutral.
Céline Poilly and Jean-Guillaume Sahuc
Classification JEL : C3, C5.
Keywords : DSGE model, currency union, heterogeneity, matching frictions, welfare.
Updated on: 06/12/2018 10:58