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Youth unemployment and government policy


  • J. Michael Orszag

    () (Department of Economics, Birkbeck College, University of London, London W1P 2LL, UK)

  • Dennis Snower

    () (Department of Economics, Birkbeck College, University of London, London W1P 2LL, UK)


Young people of working age tend to be particularly prone to labor market inefficiencies that keep their wages excessively high and their employment excessively low. These inefficiencies are usually magnified through unemployment benefit systems. This paper examines how these problems can be tackled through "employment vouchers," i.e. hiring subsidies or tax breaks for the unemployed. It examines how vouchers to the young unemployed should differ from those to the adult unemployed. The employment vouchers considered here reduce unemployment and impose no cost on the government, since they are financed by the induced fall in government expenditures on unemployment benefits. Among other things, we find that young workers should receive lower vouchers as displacement of the old rises and as deadweight from providing vouchers to the old increases.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Michael Orszag & Dennis Snower, 1999. "Youth unemployment and government policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(2), pages 197-213.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:12:y:1999:i:2:p:197-213
    Note: Received: 15 January 1997/Accepted: 30 April 1998

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Neumark, David, 1999. "Biases in twin estimates of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-148, April.
    2. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
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    8. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brown, Alessio J.G. & Merkl, Christian & Snower, Dennis J., 2011. "Comparing the effectiveness of employment subsidies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 168-179, April.
    2. Merkl, Christian & Snower, Dennis J., 2008. "Escaping the unemployment trap: The case of East Germany," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 542-556, December.
    3. repec:zbw:ifwkwp:1309 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Orszag, J. Michael & Snower, Dennis J., 2003. "Designing employment subsidies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 557-572, October.

    More about this item


    Youth unemployment · employment · employment subsidies · adult unemployment · overlapping generations models;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search


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