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Growing Into Work


  • David Blanchflower
  • Richard Freeman


This paper examines youth labor markets in OECD countries in the 1980s and 1990s, when the youth share of the population fell rapidly in most of these countries. Despite the decline in the youth share of the population and increased enrollments in school, and shifts in industry mix toward youth-intensive sectors, the wages of youth relative to adults fell, and the employment rates of youths declined sharply, particularly among men. In many countries, youth suicides rose, crime (committed largely by the young) rose and marriage rates fell among young persons. The paper concludes that the most likely cause for the adverse labor market experiences of youths is the high overall rate of unemployment. Neither changes in demography nor expansion of low wage industries nor reductions in the wages of youth were able to counteract the effects of macro-economy on the prospects of young workers.

Suggested Citation

  • David Blanchflower & Richard Freeman, 1996. "Growing Into Work," CEP Discussion Papers dp0296, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0296

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Weitzman Martin L. & Xu Chenggang, 1994. "Chinese Township-Village Enterprises as Vaguely Defined Cooperatives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 121-145, April.
    2. McMillan, John & Naughton, Barry, 1992. "How to Reform a Planned Economy: Lessons from China," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 130-143, Spring.
    3. Ellman, Michael, 1994. "The Increase in Death and Disease under "Katastroika."," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 329-355, August.
    4. Hussain, Athar & Lanjouw, Peter & Stern, Nicholas, 1994. "Income inequalities in China: Evidence from household survey data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(12), pages 1947-1957, December.
    5. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    6. Theodore Groves & Yongmiao Hong & John McMillan & Barry Naughton, 1994. "Autonomy and Incentives in Chinese State Enterprises," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 183-209.
    7. Sachs, J.D. & Woo, W.T., 1994. "Structural Factors in the Economic Reforms of China, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," Papers 94-01, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    8. Shang-Jin Wei, 1993. "Love and hate: state and non-state firms in transition economies," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 93-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    9. Shahid Yusuf, 1994. "China's Macroeconomic Performance and Management during Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 71-92, Spring.
    10. Gary H. Jefferson & Thomas G. Rawski, 1994. "Enterprise Reform in Chinese Industry," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 47-70, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jochem, Sven, 1998. "The social democratic full-employment model in transition: The Scandinavian experiences in the 1980s and 1990s," Working papers of the ZeS 02/1998, University of Bremen, Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS).
    2. O'Higgins, Niall, 2001. "Youth unemployment and employment policy: a global perspective," MPRA Paper 23698, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. L.Guarcello & M. Manacorda & F. Rosati & J. Fares & S.Lyon & C. Valdivia, 2005. "School-to-Work Transitions in Sub-Saharan Africa: An overview," UCW Working Paper 15, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
    4. Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2000. "Child Development and Success or Failure in the Youth Labor Market," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 247-288 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Steven McIntosh, 2001. "The Demand for Post-Compulsory Education in Four European Countries," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 69-90.
    6. Hämäläinen, Kari, 2003. "Education and Unemployment: State Dependence in Unemployment Among Young People in the 1990s," Discussion Papers 312, VATT Institute for Economic Research.

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