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Regional Unemployment Disparities: Can Fiscal Policy Help?

Author

Listed:
  • Nicolaas Groenewold

    () (University of Western Australia)

  • A.J. Hagger

    (University of Tasmania)

Abstract

Regional unemployment disparities are widely observed, appear to persist through time and are often a reason for concern on the part of both regional and national governments. This paper constructs a small two-region general-equilibrium model and uses it to assess the effectiveness of traditional fiscal policy in combating regional unemployment disparities. The model is based on optimising behaviour of households and firms and incorporates inter-regional migration. It is calibrated using data for the Australian states and then simulated to evaluate the effects of expenditure changes by both regional and federal governments. In particular, we consider (i) a rise in federal government spending in one region, (ii) a rise in regional government spending, (iii) a policy of ‘unlocking the forests’ in which a regional government increases the availability of regional natural resources, and (iv) a general increase in federal government spending. The results are often surprising – only the fourth policy reduces unemployment in the high-unemployment region and all policies exacerbate the disparity.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolaas Groenewold & A.J. Hagger, 2004. "Regional Unemployment Disparities: Can Fiscal Policy Help?," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(1), pages 13-37, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:7:y:2004:i:1:p:13-37
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 2000. "An Evaluation of Inertia Models of Unemployment," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 33(3), pages 205-220.
    2. Russell Ross & Peter Saunders, 1990. "The Labour Supply Behaviour of Single Mothers and Married Mothers in Australia," Discussion Papers 0019, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
    3. Hersch, Joni & Stratton, Leslie S, 1994. "Housework, Wages, and the Division of Housework Time for Employed Spouses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 120-125.
    4. Harris, Mark N, 1996. "Modelling the Probability of Youth Unemployment in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 72(217), pages 118-129, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mobility; Unemployment; and Vacancies: General Mobility; Unemployment; and Vacancies: Public Policy (Employment Services) General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies;

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies

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