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Two Sides to Every Story : Measuring the Polarisation of Work

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Abstract

Individual and household based aggregate measures of joblessness can, and do, offer conflicting signals about labour market performance if work is unequally distributed. This paper introduces a simple set of indices that can be used to measure the extent of divergence between individual and household-based jobless measures. The indices, built around a comparison of the actual household jobless rate with that which would occur if work were randomly distributed over the working age population, can be decomposed to try to identify the likely source of any disparity between non-employment rates calculated at the 2 levels of aggregation. Applying these measures to data for Britain, we show that there has been a growing disparity – polarisation - between the individual and household based jobless measures that are largely unrelated to changes in household structure or the principal characteristics associated with individual joblessness.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London in its series Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics with number 04/03.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision: Apr 2004
Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:0403

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Keywords: Workless households Distribution of work; Polarisation; joblessness;

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References

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  1. Haddad, L. & Kanbur, R., 1989. "How Serious Is The Neglectof Intra-Household Inequality?," Papers 450, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  2. Dickens, Richard & Ellwood, David T., 2001. "Whither Poverty in Great Britain and the United States? The Determinants of Changing Poverty and Whether Work Will Work," Working Paper Series rwp01-010, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Esteban, J. & Gradin, C. & Ray, D., 1999. "Extension of a Measure of Polarization, with an Application to the Income Distribution of Five OECD Countries," Papers 24, El Instituto de Estudios Economicos de Galicia Pedro Barrie de la Maza.
  4. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Moncel, Nathalie, 2004. "Differentiations in structures of employees' resources: a comparison of eight European countries," IRISS Working Paper Series 2004-02, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  3. Nolen, Patrick, 2006. "Unemployment and Family-Values: A Household Distribution Sensitive Measure of Unemployment and Some Applications," Working Papers 05-03rr, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  4. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2002. "The Growth of Jobless Households in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(2), pages 133-154.

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