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Micro vs macro explanations of post-war US unemployment movements


  • Heaton, Chris
  • Oslington, Paul


This paper considers contributions of industry-sectoral-micro shocks vs aggregate macro shocks. A dynamic factor model is estimated with maximum likelihood method in the frequency domain, and decomposes US unemployment movements into industry sectoral and common components. Sectoral shocks account for around half unemployment movements.

Suggested Citation

  • Heaton, Chris & Oslington, Paul, 2010. "Micro vs macro explanations of post-war US unemployment movements," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 87-91, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:106:y:2010:i:2:p:87-91

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abraham, Katharine G & Katz, Lawrence F, 1986. "Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 507-522, June.
    2. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2004. "The generalized dynamic factor model consistency and rates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 231-255, April.
    3. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
    4. Doz, Catherine & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2011. "A two-step estimator for large approximate dynamic factor models based on Kalman filtering," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 164(1), pages 188-205, September.
    5. Riordan, Michael H & Staiger, Robert W, 1993. "Sectoral Shocks and Structural Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 611-629, August.
    6. Mario Forni & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1998. "Let's Get Real: A Factor Analytical Approach to Disaggregated Business Cycle Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(3), pages 453-473.
    7. Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2000. "The Generalized Dynamic-Factor Model: Identification And Estimation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 540-554, November.
    8. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Business cycle fluctuations in us macroeconomic time series," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-64 Elsevier.
    9. Paul Oslington, 2005. "Unemployment and Trade Liberalisation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(8), pages 1139-1155, August.
    10. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-793, August.
    11. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1987. "Sectoral vs. Aggregate Shocks in the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 333-336, May.
    12. Raul Crespo, 2008. "Total factor productivity: an unobserved components approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(16), pages 2085-2097.
    13. Rogerson, Richard, 1987. "An Equilibrium Model of Sectoral Reallocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 824-834, August.
    14. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2006. "Evaluating latent and observed factors in macroeconomics and finance," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1-2), pages 507-537.
    15. Thomas J. Sargent & Christopher A. Sims, 1977. "Business cycle modeling without pretending to have too much a priori economic theory," Working Papers 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    16. Robert E. Hall, 2003. "Modern Theory of Unemployment Fluctuations: Empirics and Policy Applications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 145-150, May.
    17. Norrbin, Stefan C. & Schlagenhauf, Don E., 1988. "An inquiry into the sources of macroeconomic fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 43-70, July.
    18. Chris Heaton & Victor Solo, 2004. "Identification of causal factor models of stationary time series," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 7(2), pages 618-627, December.
    19. Watson, Mark W. & Engle, Robert F., 1983. "Alternative algorithms for the estimation of dynamic factor, mimic and varying coefficient regression models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 385-400, December.
    20. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heaton, Chris & Solo, Victor, 2012. "Estimation of high-dimensional linear factor models with grouped variables," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 348-367.

    More about this item


    Structural unemployment Sectoral vs aggregate shocks Dynamic factor analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes


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