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The Canada-US Unemployment Rate Gap: An Introduction and Overview

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  • W. Craig Riddell
  • Andrew Sharpe

Abstract

This article provides an introduction to the volume on the Canada-US umemployment rate gap. It is divided into three parts. The first examines comparative labour market trends in Canada and the United States. The second reviews the factors that have been advanced to explain the gap, categorizing explanations into three types: measurement issues, demand-side or cyclical explanations, and supply-side or structural explanations. The third section summarizes the contribution of the papers in the volume. A key conclusion is that the gap of the 1980s and the further widening of the gap in the 1990s appear to have fundamentally different underlying causes. The gap of the 1980s is principally due to a relative change in how Canadians and Americans spend their time when not working. The widening of the gap in the 1990s is due to much weaker aggregate economic growth in Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Craig Riddell & Andrew Sharpe, 1998. "The Canada-US Unemployment Rate Gap: An Introduction and Overview," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(s1), pages 1-37, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:24:y:1998:i:s1:p:1-37
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert A. Amano & R. Tiff Macklem, 1998. "Unemployment Persistence and Costly Adjustment of Labour: A Canada-US Comparison," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(s1), pages 138-151, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heisz, Andrew & Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien, 2003. "Working Hours in Canada and the United States," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003209e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392 Elsevier.
    3. Gary Burtless, 2002. "Can Supply-Side Policies Reduce Unemployment? Lessons from North America," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(1), pages 3-28.
    4. Mark D. Partridge, 2001. "Changes in U.S. and Canadian Wage Dynamics in the 1990s: How Unique Are Favorable U.S. Labor Market Developments?," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 31(1), pages 71-93, Summer.
    5. Tiff Macklem & Francisco Barillas, 2005. "Recent Developments in the Canada-US Unemployment Rate Gap: Changing Patterns in Unemployment Incidence and Duration," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 31(1), pages 101-108, March.
    6. Pierre Fortin, 2000. "Macroeconomic Unemployment and Structural Unemployment," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(s1), pages 125-130, July.

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