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The Ins and Outs of Unemployment: The Ins Win

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  • Michael R. Darby

    (UCLA)

  • John C. Haltiwanger

    (UCLA)

  • Mark W. Plant

    (UCLA)

Abstract

This paper develops a framework for analyzing unemployment in terms of variations in the nt.imber and distribution of people becoming unemployed and in individual probabilities of leaving unemployment. Contrary to the emphasis on exit probabilities in the recent macroeconomics literature, we present empirical evidence in support of the proposition that changes in the size and distribution of the inflow Into unemployment are the primary determinant of the unemployment rate. Instead of falling at the beginning of a recession, the outflow rate rises (with a lag) in response to the increased inflows which drive the recession. In contrast to normal unemployment, cyclical unemployment is concentrated in groups with low normal exit probabilities; so the observed procyclical variation in the average exit probability may largely he explained by predictable distributional effects.
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Suggested Citation

  • Michael R. Darby & John C. Haltiwanger & Mark W. Plant, 1986. "The Ins and Outs of Unemployment: The Ins Win," UCLA Economics Working Papers 411, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:uclawp:411
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/workingpapers/wp411.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James M. Poterba, 1984. "Expected Future Tax Policy and Tax-Exempt Bond Yields," NBER Working Papers 1469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Michael R. Darby & John Haltiwanger & Mark Plant, 1984. "Unemployment-Rate Dynamics and Persistent Unemployment Under RAtional Expectations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 339, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-793, August.
    4. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-283, June.
    5. Blinder, Alan S. & Fischer, Stanley, 1981. "Inventories, rational expectations, and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 277-304.
    6. Darby, Michael R & Haltiwanger, John C & Plant, Mark W, 1985. "Unemployment Rate Dynamics and Persistent Unemployment under Rational Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 614-637, September.
    7. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Adjusting the Gross Changes Data: Implications for Labor Market Dynamics," Working papers 351, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    8. Burdett, Kenneth & Ondrich, Jan I, 1985. "How Changes in Labor Demand Affect Unemployed Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-10, January.
    9. Topel, Robert H, 1982. "Inventories, Layoffs, and the Short-Run Demand for Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 769-787, September.
    10. Waldman, Michael, 1989. "Information on worker ability : An analysis of investment within the firm," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, pages 57-80.
    11. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-283, August.
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