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Reconciling workless measures at the individual and household level. Theory and evidence from the United States, Britain, Germany, Spain and Australia

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  • Paul Gregg

    ()

  • Rosanna Scutella
  • Jonathan Wadsworth

Abstract

Individual and household based aggregate measures of worklessness can, and do, offer conflicting signalsabout labour market performance. We outline a means of quantifying the extent of any disparity,(polarisation), in the signals stemming from individual and household-based measures of worklessness andapply this index to data from 5 countries over 25 years. Built around a comparison of the actual householdworkless rate with that which would occur if employment were randomly distributed over householdoccupants, we show that in all the countries we examine, there has been a growing disparity between theindividual and household based workless measures. The polarisation count can be decomposed to identifywhich household groups are exposed to workless concentrations and can also be used to test whichindividual characteristics account for any excess worklessness among these household groups. We showthat the incidence and magnitude of polarisation varies widely across countries, but that in all countriespolarisation has increased. For each country most of the discrepancies between the individual andhousehold workless counts stem from within-household factors, rather than from changing householdcomposition.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 139-167

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:23:y:2010:i:1:p:139-167

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Related research

Keywords: Workless households; Inequality; Polarisation; J6;

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References

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  1. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M, 1997. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 72-97, January.
  2. repec:nsr:niesrd:72 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Cullen, Julie Berry & Gruber, Jonathan, 2000. "Does Unemployment Insurance Crowd Out Spousal Labor Supply?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 546-72, July.
  4. Blanden, Jo & Gregg, Paul & Macmillan, Lindsey, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," IZA Discussion Papers 2554, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Elizabeth Clark-Kauffman & Greg J. Duncan & Pamela Morris, 2003. "How Welfare Policies Affect Child and Adolescent Achievement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 299-303, May.
  6. Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2002. "Employment Polarisation in Australia," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 02/050, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  8. Danziger, Leif & Katz, Eliakim, 1996. "A theory of sex discrimination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 57-66, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Vincent Corluy & Frank Vandenbroucke, 2012. "Individual Employment, Household Employment and Risk of Poverty in the EU. A Decomposition Analysis," Working Papers 1206, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  2. Immervoll, Herwig & Richardson, Linda, 2011. "Redistribution Policy and Inequality Reduction in OECD Countries: What Has Changed in Two Decades?," IZA Discussion Papers 6030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Carlos Gradin & Olga Canto & Coral del Rio, 2012. "Measuring employment deprivation among households in the EU," Working Papers 247, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  4. Bea Cantillon, 2012. "GINI DP 52: Virtuous Cycles or Vicious Circles? The Need for an EU Agenda on Protection, Social Distribution and Investment," GINI Discussion Papers 52, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  5. Taylor, Mark P., 2006. "Tied migration and subsequent employment: evidence from couples in Britain," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  6. Marloes Graaf-zijl & Brian Nolan, 2011. "GINI DP 5: Household Joblessness and its Impacts on Poverty and Deprivation in Europe," GINI Discussion Papers 5, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  7. Nicolas Hérault & Guyonne Kalb & Rezida Zakirova, 2011. "Dynamics of Household Joblessness: Evidence from Australian Micro-Data 2001–2007," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Claire Ravel, 2007. "The Polarisation of Employment Within Households from 1975 to 2002," Economie et Statistique, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, vol. 402, pages 3-23, November.

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