IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cep/cepdps/dp0577.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Picture of European Unemployment: Success and Failure

Author

Listed:
  • Stephen Nickell

Abstract

Average unemployment in Europe today is relatively high compared with OECD countries outside Europe. The majority of countries in Europe today have lower unemployment than any OECD country outside Europe, including the US. These two fa cts are consistent because the four largest countries in Continental Western Europe namely, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, (the Big Four), have very high unemployment and most of the rest have comparatively low unemployment. This variability is highly informative because the fifteen European countries which we consider have more or less independent labour markets in practice, despite 'free' movement of labour. Using this information we see how changes in the structure of the various labour markets explain a substantial proportion of the secular fluctuations in unemployment in the various countries. In particular, we pin down some of the particular factors which enable us to understand why some European countries have been able fully to recover from the unemployment disasters of the early 1980s whereas some have not.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Nickell, 2003. "A Picture of European Unemployment: Success and Failure," CEP Discussion Papers dp0577, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0577
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp0577.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, July.
    2. Bound, John & Burkhauser, Richard V., 1999. "Economic analysis of transfer programs targeted on people with disabilities," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 51, pages 3417-3528, Elsevier.
    3. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, October.
    4. Bertola, Giuseppe & Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence, 2001. "Comparative Analysis of Labour Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3023, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
    6. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    7. Carling, Kenneth & Holmlund, Bertil & Vejsiu, Altin, 2001. "Do Benefit Cuts Boost Job Finding? Swedish Evidence from the 1990s," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 766-790, October.
    8. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "What We Know and Do Not Know about the Natural Rate of Unemployment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 51-72, Winter.
    9. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
    10. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
    11. David T. Coe & Dennis J. Snower, 1997. "Policy Complementarities: The Case for Fundamental Labor Market Reform," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(1), pages 1-35, March.
    12. Ham, John C & Rea, Samuel A, Jr, 1987. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 325-353, July.
    13. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & David Jestaz & Edmund S. Phelps & Gylfi Zoega, 2000. "Roots of the Recent Recoveries: Labor Reforms or Private Sector Forces?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 237-311.
    14. Bertil Holmlund, 1998. "Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(1), pages 113-141, March.
    15. Meyer, Bruce D, 1995. "Natural and Quasi-experiments in Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 151-161, April.
    16. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
    17. Michael Woodford, 1994. "Structural Slumps," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1784-1815, December.
    18. Michèle Belot & Jan C. van Ours, 2004. "Does the recent success of some OECD countries in lowering their unemployment rates lie in the clever design of their labor market reforms?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 621-642, October.
    19. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
    20. Pissarides, Christopher A., 1998. "The impact of employment tax cuts on unemployment and wages; The role of unemployment benefits and tax structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 155-183, January.
    21. Katz, Lawrence F. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1990. "The impact of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 45-72, February.
    22. Belot, Michele & van Ours, Jan C., 2001. "Unemployment and Labor Market Institutions: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 403-418, December.
    23. Olympia Bover & Pilar García-Perea & Pedro Portugal, 1998. "A Comparative Study of the Portuguese and Spanish Labour Markets," Working Papers 9807, Banco de España.
    24. Martin, John P. & Grubb, David, 2001. "What works and for whom: a review of OECD countries' experiences with active labour market policies," Working Paper Series 2001:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    25. Phelps, Edmund S, 1992. "A Review of Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1476-1490, September.
    26. Carling, Kenneth & Edin, Per-Anders & Harkman, Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 1996. "Unemployment duration, unemployment benefits, and labor market programs in Sweden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 313-334, March.
    27. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 1-33, March.
    28. Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
    29. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726.
    30. Bean, Charles & Pissarides, Christopher, 1993. "Unemployment, consumption and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 837-854, May.
    31. Davis, Steven J. & Haltiwanger, John, 1999. "Gross job flows," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2711-2805, Elsevier.
    32. Hoon, Hian Teck & Phelps, Edmund S, 1992. "Macroeconomic Shocks in a Dynamized Model of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 889-900, September.
    33. Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. " Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(1), pages 113-141, March.
    34. Lawrence F. Katz, 1996. "Wage Subsidies for the Disadvantaged," NBER Working Papers 5679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. John P Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence from OECD Countries' Experiences," RBA Annual Conference Volume (Discontinued), in: Guy Debelle & Jeff Borland (ed.),Unemployment and the Australian Labour Market, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    36. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "New developments in models of search in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 2567-2627, Elsevier.
    37. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/5571 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(2), pages 13-26, October.
    2. Nickell, Stephen & Nunziata, Luca & Ochel, Wolfgang & Quintini, Glenda, 2001. "The Beveridge curve, unemployment and wages in the OECD from the 1960s to the 1990s - preliminary version," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20113, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. repec:ces:ifodic:v:1:y:2003:i:2:p:14567946 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(02), pages 13-26, October.
    5. Tito Boeri & Jan van Ours, 2013. "The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets: Second Edition," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10142.
    6. Milan Vodopivec, 2004. "Income Support for the Unemployed : Issues and Options," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 14922, November.
    7. Gylfi Zoega, 2012. "Employment and asset prices," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(26), pages 3343-3355, September.
    8. Vodopivec, Milan & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2002. "Income support systems for the unemployed : issues and options," Social Protection Discussion Papers and Notes 25529, The World Bank.
    9. Zhe Wang, 2020. "Unemployment across the Euro Area: The Role of Shocks and Labor Market Institutions," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-05, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    10. Costain, James S. & Reiter, Michael, 2008. "Business cycles, unemployment insurance, and the calibration of matching models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1120-1155, April.
    11. Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Jan C. Ours, 2014. "Labor Market Effects Of Unemployment Insurance Design," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 284-311, April.
    12. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392, Elsevier.
    13. H Buscher & C Dreger & R Ramos & J Surinach, 2009. "The Impact of Institutions on the Employment Performance in European Labour Markets," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 14(1), pages 17-34, March.
    14. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2006. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 357-386, July.
    15. Bart, COCKX & Jean, RIES, 2004. "The Exhaustion of Unemployment Benefits in Belgium. Does it Enhance the Probability of Employment ?," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2004016, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    16. Norbert Berthold & Rainer Fehn, 2003. "Unemployment in Germany: Reasons and Remedies," CESifo Working Paper Series 871, CESifo.
    17. Howell David R. & Baker Dean & Glyn Andrew & Schmitt John, 2007. "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Review of the Evidence," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-73, May.
    18. Martín-Román, Ángel L., 2022. "Beyond the added-worker and the discouraged-worker effects: the entitled-worker effect," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    19. Ignacio Moral-Arce & Javier Martín-Román & Ángel L. Martín-Román, 2019. "Cessation of Activity Benefit for Spanish Self-employed Workers: A Heterogeneous Impact Evaluation," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 231(4), pages 41-79, December.
    20. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "The Determinants of Unemployment across OECD Countries," Post-Print halshs-00120584, HAL.
    21. Virve Ollikainen & Tomi Kyyrä, 2006. "To Search or Not to Search? The Effects of UI Benefit Extension for the Elderly Unemployed," Discussion Papers 400, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment; institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0577. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/discussion-papers/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/discussion-papers/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.