OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

The United Kingdom NAIRU

Concepts, Measurement and Policy Implications

The behaviour of unemployment in the UK is of particular interest in the light of the far reaching programme of reforms introduced since 1980. The paper first outlines the main theoretical ideas behind the concept of equilibrium unemployment, drawing a distinction between the factors which may cause transitory, albeit long lived, departures from the short run NAIRU, and those which influence the long run NAIRU. Both are unobservable. The last decade and a half has seen substantial changes to the institutional structure of the UK labour market, such as the decline in the strength of trade unions, and the introduction of government policies to increase labour market flexibility. The impact of these on the NAIRU is assessed. Estimates of the NAIRU are discussed. The general picture is that, whether a reduced form fundamental supply equation or structural approach is adopted, the UK’s NAIRU reached a peak in the mid 1980s and has subsequently fallen, more in the case of the long run ...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error