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How Bad Is Unemployment in Tunisia? Assessing Labor Market Efficiency in a Developing Country

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  • Rama, Martin

Abstract

Tunisia's unemployment rate has been among the highest in the world for almost two decades. This article claims that such a high rate reflects measurement problems rather than labor market inefficiency. After discussing the reasons why unemployment rates may not be comparable across countries and reviewing the tools that are available to analyze unemployment in a specific country, the article provides four pieces of evidence to substantiate its claim. Two of them relate to the criteria used in Tunisia to measure unemployment and the way these criteria have changed over time. Two use records on the number of active job seekers and vacancies as reported to the official employment agency. Together, this body of evidence suggests that unemployment has declined steadily over time and remains an issue for first-time job seekers only. Copyright 1998 by Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://www.worldbank.org/research/journals/wbro/obsfeb98/pdf/article4.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 13 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 59-77

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:13:y:1998:i:1:p:59-77

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  1. Jeffrey R. Franks, 1994. "Explaining Unemployment in Spain," IMF Working Papers 94/102, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Blanchard, Olivier & Jimeno, Juan F, 1995. "Structural Unemployment: Spain versus Portugal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 212-18, May.
  3. Coles, Melvyn G & Smith, Eric, 1996. "Cross-Section Estimation of the Matching Function: Evidence from England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(252), pages 589-97, November.
  4. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  5. Berman, Eli, 1997. "Help Wanted, Job Needed: Estimates of a Matching Function from Employment Service Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S251-92, January.
  6. Burda, Michael C, 1993. "Modelling Exits from Unemployment in Eastern Germany: A Matching Function Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 800, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Edin, P-A. & Holmlund, B., 1990. "Unemployment, Vacancies And Labour Market Programmes: Swedish Evidence," Papers 1990j, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  8. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Short-run Equilibrium Dynamics of Unemployment Vacancies, and Real Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 676-90, September.
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