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Sectoral Shifts and Unemployment in Interwar Britain

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  • S. Lael Brainard
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    Abstract

    This paper measures the importance of sectoral shifts, as against aggregate shocks and changes in search intensity, in explaining the persistent high unemployment that prevailed in interwar Britain. It develops a new measure of sectoral shifts that captures the arrival of information about reallocation shocks by using the cross-section variation in sectoral stock market excess returns over time. The cross-section variation series accounts for roughly one-quarter of the average level of aggregate unemployment during the interwar period, even after controlling for a variety of shocks to aggregate demand, and for roughly one-half of the variation in unemployment, suggesting an important role for sectoral shifts.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3980.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3980.

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    Date of creation: Jan 1992
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    Publication status: published as With David M. Cutler, published as "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment Reconsidered", Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 108, no. 1 , (1993): 219-243.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3980

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    1. Loungani, Prakash & Rush, Mark & Tave, William, 1990. "Stock market dispersion and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 367-388, June.
    2. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
    3. Cross, Rodney, 1982. "How Much Voluntary Unemployment in Interwar Britain? [Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain]," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 380-85, April.
    4. Prakash Loungani & Mark Rush, 1990. "Sectoral shifts in interwar Britain," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    5. Davis, Steven J., 1987. "Fluctuations in the pace of labor reallocation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 335-402, January.
    6. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-93, August.
    7. Collins, Michael, 1982. "Unemployment in Interwar Britain: Still Searching for an Explanation [Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain]," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 369-79, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. G. Gallipoli & G. Pelloni, 2013. "Macroeconomic Effects of Job Reallocations: A Survey," Working Papers wp897, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    2. Chen, Jinzhu & Kannan, Prakash & Loungani, Prakash & Trehan, Bharat, 2012. "New evidence on cyclical and structural sources of unemployment," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue March, pages 1-23.

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