Discussion Paper Series 2022-E-17

Monetary Policy, Labor Force Participation, and Wage Rigidity

Hiroyuki Kubota, Ichiro Muto, Mototsugu Shintani

To understand the role of monetary policy in determining the labor force participation rate, we present empirical evidence for Japan and the US. The data suggests that labor force participation declines in Japan but increases in the US in response to a monetary tightening. To inspect the mechanism, we develop and estimate a New Keynesian model of endogenous labor force participation decisions incorporating wage rigidity. We find that the opposite response of labor force participation can be attributed to a difference in the degree of wage rigidity. Counterfactual analysis based on the estimated models shows that the large-scale monetary easing in recent years helped boost the labor force participation rate in Japan, while its effect was almost neutral in the US.

Keywords: Labor force participation; Monetary policy; Unemployment; Wage rigidity

Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.

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