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Why Did the Average Duration of Unemployment Become So Much Longer?

  • Toshihiko Mukoyama

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Concordia University)

  • Aysegul Sahin

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

This paper examines the causes of the observed increase in the average unemployment duration over the past thirty years. First we analyze if changes in the demographic com- position of the U.S. labor force can explain this increase. In particular, we examine how much of the observed change can be explained by the change in age and gender compo- sition. We then consider institutional changes, such as the change in the generosity and coverage of unemployment insurance. Changes in the composition of the labor force and institutional changes can only partially account for the observed increase in the duration of unemployment. We construct a job search model and calibrate it to the U.S. data. The results indicate that more than 70% of the increase in the duration of unemployment over the last thirty years can be explained by an increase in within-group wage inequality.

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Paper provided by Concordia University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 04002.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crd:wpaper:04002
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