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Youth Unemployment in the OECD: Demographic Shifts, Labour Market Institutions and Macroeconomic Shocks

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We use a panel of OECD countries to gauge the relevance of the relative size of the youth population, labour market institutions and macroeconomic shocks at explaining observed relative youth unemployment rates. We find that the fluctuations of the youth population size caused by the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s and the subsequent decline of fertility in many European countries are positively associated with fluctuations in relative youth unemployment rates. We also find that some labour market institutions contribute to increase youth unemployment, and that the adjustment to macroeconomic shocks has affected relatively more to young workers than to adult workers. To motivate the effects of institutions on the relative unemployment rate of young workers, we lay out a simple theoretical model that builds on the imperfect substitutability of workers of different ages, and on the non-allocative role of (age specific) wages.

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Paper provided by European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes in its series Economics Working Papers with number 019.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:epr:enepwp:019

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Keywords: youth unemployment; labour supply; labour market institutions;

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  1. Juan José Dolado & Florentino Felgueroso & Juan F. Jimeno, . "Explaining Youth Labor Market Problems in Spain: Crowding-Out, Institutions, or Technology Shifts?," Working Papers 2000-09, FEDEA.
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Comparative Analysis of Labor Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
  5. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 2000. "Cohort Crowding and Youth Labor Markets (A Cross-National Analysis)," NBER Chapters, in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 57-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jimeno, Juan F. & Bentolila, Samuel, 1998. "Regional unemployment persistence (Spain, 1976-1994)," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 25-51, March.
  7. Belot, M.V.K. & Ours, J.C. van, 2000. "Does the Recent Success of some OECD Countries in Lowering their Unemployment Rates lie in the Clever Design of their Labour Market Reforms?," Discussion Paper 2000-40, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Dolado, J. J. & Felgueroso, F. & Jimeno, J. F., 2001. "Female employment and occupational changes in the 1990s: How is the EU performing relative to the US?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 875-889, May.
  9. Samuel Bentolila & Andrea Ichino, 2000. "Unemployment and Consumption: Are Job Losses Less Painful near the Mediterranean?," CESifo Working Paper Series 372, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Nickell, S.J. & Ours, J.C. van, 1999. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom: A European Unemployment Miracle?," Discussion Paper 1999-119, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. Robert Shimer, 2001. "The Impact Of Young Workers On The Aggregate Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 969-1007, August.
  12. Claudio Lupi & Giorgio Brunello, 2001. "Beyond National Institutions: Labor Taxes and Regional Unemployment in Italy," CESifo Working Paper Series 414, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Wage Inequality, Collective Bargaining, And Relative Employment From 1985 To 1994: Evidence From Fifteen Oecd Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 564-579, November.
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