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U.S. Unemployment Duration: Has Long Become Longer or Short Become Shorter?

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  • Pedro Portugal

Abstract

The U.S. labor market has been experiencing unprecedented high average unemployment duration. The shift in the unemployment duration distribution can be traced back to the early nineties. In this study, censored quantile regression methods are employed to analyze the changes in the U.S. unemployment duration distribution. We explore the decomposition method proposed by Machado and Mata (2005) to disentangle the contribution of the changes generated by the covariate distribution and by the conditional distribution. The data used in this inquiry are taken from the nationally representative Displaced Worker Surveys of 1988 and 1998. We provide evidence that the change in the unemployment duration distribution is mainly produced by the opposing effects of a sharp rise in job-to-job transition rates and an increased sensitivity of unemployment duration to unemployment rates. Compositional changes in the labor force played a limited role. We rationalize our findings by arguing that improved screening technology is likely to be the relevant underlying mechanism at work.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Portugal, 2007. "U.S. Unemployment Duration: Has Long Become Longer or Short Become Shorter?," Working Papers 2007/17, Czech National Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:cnb:wpaper:2007/17
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mukoyama, Toshihiko & Sahin, Aysegl, 2009. "Why did the average duration of unemployment become so much longer?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 200-209, March.
    2. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Wilke, Ralf A., 2007. "New insights on unemployment duration and post unemployment earnings in Germany: censored Box-Cox quantile regression at work," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-007, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Bernd Fitzenberger & Ralf A. Wilke, 2010. "New Insights into Unemployment Duration and Post Unemployment Earnings in Germany," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 72(6), pages 794-826, December.
    4. Ronald Bachmann & Mathias Sinning, 2016. "Decomposing the Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(6), pages 853-876, December.
    5. repec:zbw:rwirep:0305 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rubiana Chamarbagwala, 2010. "Economic liberalization and urban–rural inequality in India: a quantile regression analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 371-394, October.
    7. Samer Kherfi, 2015. "Determinants of Unemployment Duration," Working Papers 909, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2015.
    8. Josep Pijoan-Mas & Hernan Ruffo & Claudio Michelacci, 2012. "Inequality in Unemployment Risk and in Wages," 2012 Meeting Papers 794, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Ronald Bachmann & Mathias Sinning, 2011. "Decomposing the Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," Ruhr Economic Papers 0305, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Winker, Peter, 2007. "Improving the computation of censored quantile regressions," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 88-108, September.
    11. Philip Ball & Ralf Wilke, "undated". "Job seeker's allowance in Great Britain: How does the regional labour market affect the duration until job finding?," Discussion Papers 09/03, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Quantile Regression; Duration Analysis; Unemployment Duration; Counterfactual Decomposition.;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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