Mr. Ravi Balakrishnan, Mai Dao, Mr. Juan Sole, and Jeremy Zook
The U.S. labor force participation rate (LFPR) fell dramatically following the Great Recession and has yet to start recovering. A key question is how much of the post-2007 decline is reversible, something which is central to the policy debate. The key finding of this paper is that while around ¼–? of the post-2007 decline is reversible, the LFPR will continue to decline given population aging. This paper’s measure of the “employment gap” also suggests that labor market slack remains and will only decline gradually, pointing to a still important role for stimulative macro-economic policies to help reach full employment. In addition, given the continued downward pressure on the LFPR, labor supply measures will be an essential component of the strategy to boost potential growth. Finally, stimulative macroeconomic and labor supply policies should also help reduce the scope for further hysteresis effects to develop (e.g., loss of skills, discouragement).
The concept of market-based fiscal discipline posits that a government which runs persistent, excessive fiscal deficits will face an increased cost of borrowing and eventually, a reduced availability of credit, and that these market actions will provide an incentive to correct irresponsible fiscal behavior. This paper presents new empirical evidence on market-based fiscal discipline by estimating the relationship between the cost of borrowing and fiscal policy behavior across U.S. states. We find that U.S. states which have followed more prudent fiscal policies are perceived by the market as having lower default risk and are therefore able to reap the benefit of lower borrowing costs.