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Speed of Technical Progress and Length of the Average Interjob Period

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  • William J. Baumol
  • Edward N. Wolff

Abstract

The mean duration of unemployment has approximately doubled in the U.S. between the early 1950s and the mid-1990s, with most of the increase occurring since the early 1970s. We first construct a simple model linking the average duration of unemployment with the speed of technical change. Using aggregate time-series data for the U.S., we find strong evidence that both the rate of TFP growth and investment in office, computing, and accounting equipment (OCA) per employee have a significant positive effect on mean unemployment duration. Moreover, literally all of the two-thirds rise in mean unemployment duration between 1971 and 1994 (two similar points in the business cycle) can be attributed to increases in OCA investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_237.

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Date of creation: May 1998
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_237

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Cited by:
  1. Robert G. Valletta, 1998. "Changes in the structure and duration of U.S. unemployment, 1967-1998," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 29-40.
  2. José Ferreira Machado & Pedro Portugal & Juliana Guimarães, 2006. "U.S. Unemployment Duration: Has Long Become Longer or Short Become Shorter?," Working Papers w200613, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  3. Bharat Trehan, 2003. "Productivity shocks and the unemployment rate," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 13-27.
  4. Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin, 2004. "Why Did the Average Duration of Unemployment Become So Much Longer?," Working Papers 04002, Concordia University, Department of Economics.
  5. Matthias Lücke, 1999. "Sectoral Value Added Prices, TFP Growth, and the Low-Skilled Wage in High-Income Countries," Kiel Working Papers 923, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

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