In a baseline micro model a band of inaction due to hiring and firing costs is widened by option value effects of exchange rate uncertainty. Based on this micro foundation, an aggregation approach is presented. Under uncertainty, intervals of weak response to exchange rate reversals (called ‘play’ areas) are introduced on the macro level. ‘Spurts’ in new employment or firing may occur after an initially weak response. Since these mechanisms may apply to other ‘investment’ cases where the aggregation of microeconomic real options effects under uncertainty are relevant, they may even be of a more general interest.
A linearized model of the (macro) hysteresis loop is derived which shares a closer affinity to the original concept of hysteresis than conventional descriptive techniques by linear difference equations. The original loop is approximated by a rhombus shape path consisting of linear partial functions. Persisting effects are captured by vertical shifts of the linear sections. Additionally, a linear-hysteretic regression model is introduced and exemplarily applied for the analysis of the relation between dollar/Yen exchange rate and the US-imports from Japan.
In order to differentiate between unit root-persistence and structural break-hysteresis we estimate two types of cointegration models for West German employment. The standard model is compared with a model including structural breaks in the long-run relation between employment and its determinants. Our estimation shows that persistence is probably attributed to structural breaks in the long-run relation and not to a degenerating adjustment process. Thus, a unit root in the standard model possibly reveals a misspecification in the form of an ex-ante exclusion of the possibility of structural breaks in the equilibrium relation due to serious economic shocks.
Sunk firing and hiring costs shelter existent employment. This effect is typically amplified by uncertainty due to an option value of waiting. Thus, if (i) sunk firing costs are high, for example due to an employment protection legislation or due to the loss of firm-specific human capital, or if (ii) (after a future recovery) recruiting a new qualified staff is difficult and recession-related losses are expected to be only transitory, firms have to consider labour hoarding as a relevant strategy. In this environment a moderate temporary employment subsidy will be sufficient to avoid layoffs by firms currently operating at losses. Depending on the size of sunk (re-)hiring costs, cyclical layoffs or even permanent job destruction can be avoided by short run subsidies during the beginning of a recession.