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Two Sides to Every Story: Measuring the Polarisation of Work

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  • Paul Gregg
  • Jonathan Wadsworth

Abstract

Individual and household based aggregate measures of joblessness can, and do, offer conflicting signals about labour market performance if work is unequally distributed. Thispaper introduces a simple set of indices that can be used to measure the extent of divergencebetween individual and household-based jobless measures. The indices, built around acomparison of the actual household jobless rate with that which would occur if work wererandomly distributed over the working age population, conform to basic consistency axiomsand can be decomposed to try to identify the likely source of any disparity betweennonemployment rates calculated at the 2 levels of aggregation. Applying these measures todata for Britain, we show that there has been a growing disparity ¿ polarisation - between theindividual and household based jobless measures that are largely unrelated to changes inhousehold structure or the principal characteristics associated with individual joblessness.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Gregg & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2004. "Two Sides to Every Story: Measuring the Polarisation of Work," CEP Discussion Papers dp0632, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0632
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Haddad, Lawrence & Kanbur, Ravi, 1990. "How Serious Is the Neglect of Intra-Household Inequality?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(402), pages 866-881, September.
    2. Joan Esteban & Carlos Gradin & Debraj Ray, 1999. "Extensions of a Measure of Polarization with an Application to the Income Distribution of Five OECD Countries," LIS Working papers 218, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Dickens & David T. Ellwood, 2004. "Whither Poverty in Great Britain and the United States? The Determinants of Changing Poverty and Whether Work Will Work," NBER Chapters,in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 313-370 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    5. Hills,John (ed.), 1996. "New Inequalities," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521556989.
    6. Hills,John (ed.), 1996. "New Inequalities," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521553261.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2005. "Employment Polarisation in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(255), pages 336-350, December.
    2. Neil Lee & Paul Sissons, 2016. "Inclusive growth? The relationship between economic growth and poverty in British cities," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 48(11), pages 2317-2339, November.
    3. Nolen, Patrick, 2006. "Unemployment and Family-Values: A Household Distribution Sensitive Measure of Unemployment and Some Applications," Working Papers 05-03rr, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    4. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2002. "The Growth of Jobless Households in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(2), pages 133-154.
    5. Moncel, Nathalie, 2004. "Differentiations in structures of employees' resources: a comparison of eight European countries," IRISS Working Paper Series 2004-02, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Workless households; Distribution of work; Polarisation; Joblessness;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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