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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 signals about 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 and apply this index to data from 5 countries over 25 years. Built around a comparison of the actual household workless rate with that which would occur if employment were randomly distributed over household occupants, we show that in all the countries we examine, there has been a growing disparity between the individual and household based workless measures. The polarisation count can be decomposed to identify which household groups are exposed to workless concentrations and can also be used to test which individual characteristics account for any excess worklessness among these household groups. We show that the incidence and magnitude of polarisation varies widely across countries, but that in all countries polarisation has increased. For each country most of the discrepancies between the individual and household workless counts stem from within-household factors, rather than from changing household composition.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19954/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19954.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19954

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Related research

Keywords: Workless households; Inequality; Distribution of work; Polarisation; Worklessness;

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References

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  1. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2006. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Non-Cognitive Skills, Ability and Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0073, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  2. 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.
  3. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2005. "Employment Polarisation in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(255), pages 336-350, December.
  4. repec:nsr:niesrd:72 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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.
  6. Danziger, Leif & Katz, Eliakim, 1996. "A theory of sex discrimination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 57-66, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Herwig Immervoll & Linda Richardson, 2011. "Redistribution Policy and Inequality Reduction in OECD Countries: What Has Changed in Two Decades?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 122, OECD Publishing.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Annemie Nys & Leen Meeusen & Vincent Corluy, 2014. "Determinants of low work intensity in households with disabled family members. Empirical analysis for the EU-15," Working Papers 1402, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  8. repec:ese:iserwp:2006-05 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Mark P. Taylor, 2007. "Tied Migration and Subsequent Employment: Evidence from Couples in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(6), pages 795-818, December.
  10. 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.

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