There is a wide literature on the dynamic adjustment of employment and its relationship with the business cycle. Our aim is to propose a statistical model that offers a congruent representation of post-war UK labour market. We use a cointegrated vector autoregressive Markov-switching model where some parameters change according to the phase of the business cycle. Output, employment, labour supply and real earnings are found to have a common cyclical component. The long run dynamics are characterized by two cointegrating vectors: trend-adjusted labour productivity and the labour share. Despite there having been many changes affecting this sector of the UK economy, the Markov-switching vector-equilibrium-correction model with three regimes representingm recession, growth and high growth provides a good characterization of the sample data over the period 1966(3)-1993(1) In an out-of-sample forecast experiment over the period 1991(2)-1993(1) it beats linear and non-linear model alternatives. The results of an impulse-response analysis highlight the dangers of using VARs when the constancy of the estimated coefficients has not been established.
Author(s): Hans-Martin Krolzig (Dept. of Economics and Nuffield College, Oxford), Massimiliano Marcellino (Università Bocconi and IGIER) and Grayham E. Mizon (University of Southampton)