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Unemployment and Nonemployment: Heterogeneities in Labor Market States

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  • Stephen R. G. Jones
  • W. Craig Riddell

Abstract

The determination of how to distinguish between unemployment and nonparticipation is important and controversial. The conventional approach employs a priori reasoning together with self-reported current behavior. This paper employs an evidence-based classification of labor force status using information about the consequences of the behavior of the nonemployed. We find that marginal attachment-defined as desiring work, although not searching-is a distinct labor market state, lying between those who do not desire work and the unemployed. Furthermore, important heterogeneities exist within these nonemployment states. Two subsets of nonparticipants-both engaged in waiting-display behavior similar to the unemployed. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 2006. "Unemployment and Nonemployment: Heterogeneities in Labor Market States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 314-323, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:88:y:2006:i:2:p:314-323
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
    2. Coles, Melvyn G & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2002. "A Test Between Unemployment Theories Using Matching Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 3241, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 1999. "The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 147-162, January.
    4. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
    5. Füsun Gönül, 1992. "New Evidence on Whether Unemployment and out of the Labor Force are Distinct States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(2), pages 329-361.
    6. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Diamond, Peter, 1992. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 354-359, May.
    7. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 1998. "Unemployment and Labor Force Attachment: A Multistate Analysis of Nonemployment," NBER Chapters,in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 123-155 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Coles, Melvyn G & Smith, Eric, 1998. "Marketplaces and Matching," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 239-254, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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