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Did the pattern of aggregate employment growth change in the euro area in the late 1990s?

  • Mourre, Gilles

The paper examines whether the pattern of growth in euro area employment seen in the period 1997-2001 differed from that recorded in the past and what could be the reasons for that. First, a standard employment equation is estimated for the euro area as a whole. This shows that the lagged impact of both output growth and real labour cost growth, together with a productivity trend and employment “inertia”, can account for most of the employment developments between 1970 and the early 1990s. Conversely, these traditional determinants can only explain part of the employment development seen in recent years (1997-2001). Second, the paper shows sound evidence of a structural break in the aggregate employment equation in the late 1990s. Third, the paper provides some tentative explanations for this change in aggregate employment developments, using in particular country panels of institutional variables and of active labour market policies but also cross-sectional analyses. Among the relevant factors likely to have contributed to rising aggregate employment in recent years are changes in the sectoral composition of euro area employment, the strong development of part-time jobs, lower labour tax rates and possibly less stringent employment protection legislation and greater subsidies to private employment. JEL Classification: C2, E24, H50, J23

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0358.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20040358
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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1997. "Jobless Growth: Appropriability, Factor Substitution, and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 6221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1998. "'Actual' versus 'virtual' employment in Europe Is Spain different?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 123-153, January.
  3. Belot, M.V.K. & van Ours, J.C., 2000. "Does the Recent Success of some OECD Countries in Lowering their Unemployment Rates lie in the Clever Design of their Labour Market Reforms?," Discussion Paper 2000-40, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Julian Morgan, 2001. "Employment security and the demand for labour in Europe," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(14), pages 1763-1774.
  5. Daveri, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1992. "Labor Turnover Costs and Average Labor Demand," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 389-411, October.
  7. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345, March.
  8. Belot, M.V.K. & Ours, J.C. van, 2000. "Does the Recent Success of some OECD Countries in Lowering their Unemployment Rates lie in the Clever Design of their Labour Market Reforms?," Discussion Paper 2000-40, .
  9. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  10. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1997. "Cohort Crowding and Youth Labor Markets: A Cross-National Analysis," NBER Working Papers 6031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  12. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  13. Bertola, Giuseppe & Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence, 2001. "Comparative Analysis of Labour Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3023, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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