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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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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 work 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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Bibliographic Info

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 04/04.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision: Apr 2004
Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:0404

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

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  1. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2002. "Employment Polarisation in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n09, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  2. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages C43-C60, 03.
  3. Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 5459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:nsr:niesrd:72 is not listed on IDEAS
  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. 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.
  8. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  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. 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.
  9. 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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