1887

OECD Journal: Economic Studies

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OECD Journal: Economic Studies publishes articles in the area of economic policy analysis, applied economics and statistical analysis, generally with an international or cross-country dimension. It draws significantly on economic papers produced by the OECD Economics Department, other parts of the OECD Secretariat and the Organisation’s intergovernmental committees.

English

Economic resilience to shocks

The role of structural policies

Cyclical fluctuations in economic activity have moderated over time but the extent and dynamics of volatility remain different across OECD countries. A reason behind this heterogeneity is that countries exhibit different degrees of resilience in the face of common shocks. This paper traces divergences in resilience back to different policy settings and institutions in labour, product and financial markets. Using pooled regression analysis across 20 OECD countries over the period 1982-2003, the paper identifies the impact of policy settings on two dimensions of resilience: the impact effect of a shock and its subsequent persistence. Policies and institutions associated with rigidities in labour and product markets are found to dampen the initial impact of shocks but to make their effects more persistent, while policies allowing for deep mortgage markets lower persistence and thereby improve resilience. Combining these two dimensions of resilience, the paper then uses the estimated equations to derive indicators of resilience for the OECD countries concerned, based on their current or recent policy settings. Three groups of countries emerge. In English-speaking countries, simulations suggest shocks have a significant initial effect on activity but this impact then dies out relatively quickly. By contrast, in many continental European countries the initial impact of shocks is cushioned but their effect linger for longer, with the cumulated output loss tending to be larger than in English-speaking countries. Finally a few, mostly small, European countries combine cushioning of the initial shock with a fairly quick return to baseline.

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