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What Is Happening in the Youth Labour Market in Canada?


  • Paul Beaudry
  • Thomas Lemieux
  • Daniel Parent


This paper analyzes the evolution of the labour market participation rate of men and women age 15 to 24 from 1976 to 1998. The0501n question being asked is why youth participation rates fell precipitously during the 1990s? We look at two dimensions of this decline: changes in the participation rate of youth who are not attending school (non-student participation rate) and changes in the employment rate of students. We find that the decline in the non-student participation rate is a consequence of two factors: (1) the overall bad state of the labour market in Canada during the 1990s, and (2) the large increase in school enrollment rates induced by factors other than the state of the labour market. One important finding is that demographic changes (baby boom vs baby bust) is a key explanation behind the steep increase in enrollment rates during the 1980s and 1990s. The only component of youth participation rates which seems to be a problem specific to the 1990s is the sharp drop in employment rates of students age 15 to 19. Cette étude vise à analyser l'évolution du taux de participation des jeunes Canadiens âgés de 15 à 24 ans au cours de la période allant de 1976 à 1998. Plus précisément, nous cherchons à comprendre pourquoi le taux de participation des jeunes a chuté au cours des années 90. Pour ce faire, nous examinons les changements dans le taux de participation des jeunes qui ne fréquentent pas l'école ainsi que les changements dans le taux d'emploi des étudiants. Les résultats indiquent que la baisse du taux de participation des jeunes découle de deux facteurs : (1) les mauvaises conditions globales du marché du travail au Canada durant les années 90, et (2) l'augmentation substantielle de la fréquentation scolaire causée par des facteurs autres que l'effet induit par les conditions du marché du travail. Un résultat important est que les changements démographiques constituent un facteur-clé pouvant expliquer l'accroissement important des taux de fréquentation scolaire au cours des années 80 et 90. La seule composante pouvant expliquer la chute des taux de participation qui soit spécifique aux années 90 est la forte baisse des taux d'emploi des étudiants âgés de 15 à 19 ans.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Beaudry & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 1999. "What Is Happening in the Youth Labour Market in Canada?," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-44, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:99s-44

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Adapting to Circumstances (The Evolution of Work, School,and Living Arrangements among North American Youth)," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 171-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    3. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2000. "Cohort patterns in Canadian earnings: assessing the role of skill premia in inequality trends," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 907-936, November.
    4. Robert Shimer, 2001. "The Impact of Young Workers on the Aggregate Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 969-1007.
    5. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 2000. "Cohort Crowding and Youth Labor Markets (A Cross-National Analysis)," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 57-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2006. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," NBER Working Papers 12159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. J. Emery & Ana Ferrer, 2009. "Marriage market imbalances and labor force participation of Canadian women," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 43-57, March.
    3. Frank T. Denton & Christine H. Feaver & Byron G. Spencer, 2002. "Alternative Pasts, Possible Futures: A "What If" Study of the Effects of Fertility on the Canadian Population and Labour Force," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(3), pages 443-459, September.
    4. Michele Campolieti & Tony Fang & Morley Gunderson, 2010. "Labour Market Outcomes and Skill Acquisition of High-School Dropouts," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 39-52, March.
    5. Daniel Parent, "undated". "La Prime Associée au Diplôme d'Études Secondaires et le Décrochage Scolaire au Canada," CIRANO Project Reports 2002rp-05, CIRANO.
    6. Heisz, Andrew & Nakamura, A. & Picot, Garnett, 2001. "Job Tenure, Worker Mobility and the Youth Labour Market During the 1990s," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001155e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Daniel Parent, 2004. "The Effect of High School Employment on Educational Attainment in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0413, CIRPEE.
    8. Daniel Parent, 1999. "Labour Market Outcomes and Schooling in Canada: Has the Value of a High School Degree Changed over Time?," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-42, CIRANO.
    9. Michael B Coelli, 2009. "Parental Job Loss, Income Shocks and the Education Enrolment of Youth," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1060, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item


    Education; labour market; Éducation; marché du travail;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • 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

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