Japan's Labor Market Cyclicality and the Volatility Puzzle

Author Name Julen ESTEBAN-PRETEL  (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies) /NAKAJIMA Ryo  (Yokohama National University) /TANAKA Ryuichi  (Tokyo Institute of Technology)
Creation Date/NO. April 2011 11-E-040
Research Project Empirical Analysis of Japan's Labor Market: Policy Responses to Fertility Decline and Population Aging
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The search and matching model has recently come under criticism for its inability to account for some of the cyclical properties of the U.S. labor market. Shimer (2005) has shown that the basic version of the model is incapable of reproducing the volatility of the market tightness for reasonable movements in productivity. This paper considers whether the so-called "Shimer Puzzle" also holds for the Japanese economy. We present empirical evidence on the cyclical properties of the labor market variables in Japan and compare these to their U.S. counterparts. We then build, parametrize, and simulate three different versions of the search and matching model (with exogenous job destruction, with endogenous job destruction, and embedded in a Real Business Cycle model) and compare the simulated statistics to the data. We find that the "Shimer Puzzle" does hold for Japan, since the model is unable to generate as much volatility on the market tightness as in the data.