The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper presents an analysis of the behavior of the Swiss labor market, which emphasizes both changes to labor supply and real wage inflexibility as determinants of recent unusually high levels of unemployment. Supply responses in the past meant that measured unemployment rates were rarely high. The paper suggests that these responses also meant that real wages were probably less responsive to shocks as a result. Econometric tests reported in the paper broadly confirm these suggestions, and imply that the level of unemployment consistent with stable inflation has risen in Switzerland.