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 asks how well Okun's Law fits short-run unemployment movements in the United States since 1948 and in twenty advanced economies since 1980. We find that Okun's Law isa strong and stable relationship in most countries, one that did not change substantiallyduring the Great Recession. Accounts of breakdowns in the Law, such as the emergence of'jobless recoveries,' are flawed. We also find that the coefficient in the relationship-the effect of a one percent change in output on the unemployment rate-varies substantially across countries. This variation is partly explained by idiosyncratic features of national labormarkets, but it is not related to differences in employment protection legislation.