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Sectoral shifts or aggregate shocks? A new test of sectoral shifts hypothesis

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  • Yanggyu Byun

    ()

  • Hae-shin Hwang

    ()

Abstract

The sectoral shift hypothesis asserts that sectoral shifts in labor demand can generate a significant unemployment even if the aggregate demand stays the same. Past studies tested the hypothesis using the dispersion of sectoral shocks as a proxy for the size of sectoral shifts and reported contradicting results which are sensitive to the model specification. This paper shows that the dispersion of sectoral shocks alone is insufficient to capture the aggregate layoffs caused by the sectoral shocks and that the shape of the distribution (skewness) of sectoral shocks plays a significant role. The sectoral shift hypothesis is tested as a joint test of the significance of dispersion and skewness. The new test strongly supports the hypothesis, and it is robust to model specifications. Sectoral shifts are also found to be a significant source of cyclical variation in the aggregate unemployment rate. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Yanggyu Byun & Hae-shin Hwang, 2015. "Sectoral shifts or aggregate shocks? A new test of sectoral shifts hypothesis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 481-502, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:49:y:2015:i:2:p:481-502
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-014-0878-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    3. repec:rim:rimwps:27-08 is not listed on IDEAS
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    5. Mills, Terence C & Pelloni, Gianluigi & Zervoyianni, Athina, 1995. "Unemployment Fluctuations in the United States: Further Tests of the Sectoral-Shifts Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 294-304, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sectoral shifts hypothesis; Sectoral shocks; Dispersion; Skewness; Natural rate; E24; C18; J21;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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