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On Various ways of Measuring Unemployment, with Applications to Switzerland


  • Jacques Silber
  • Joseph Deutsch
  • Yves Flückiger


This paper discusses first various ways of measuring unemployment and, borrowing ideas from the poverty measurement literature, proposes four more general unemployment indices which are parallel to the Sen poverty index, to its generalization by Shorrocks, to the FGT and to the Watts poverty indices. It then presents an empirical illustration based on Swiss data at the level of the “canton”. More precisely, using the so-called Shapley decomposition, it computes the contribution to the difference between the value of each of these four unemployment indices in a given “canton” and in Switzerland as a whole, of three components measuring respectively the impact of differences in the traditional unemployment rate, in the average unemployment duration and in the inequality in the unemployment durations. The paper ends by discussing the impact on the results obtained of assumptions made concerning the maximum unemployment duration.

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  • Jacques Silber & Joseph Deutsch & Yves Flückiger, 2007. "On Various ways of Measuring Unemployment, with Applications to Switzerland," Working Papers 2007-20, FEDEA.
  • Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2007-20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Riese & K. Brunner, 1998. "Measuring the severity of unemployment," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 167-180, June.
    2. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    3. Mercedes Sastre & Alain Trannoy, 2002. "Shapley inequality decomposition by factor components: Some methodological issues," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 51-89, December.
    4. Saul, S., 1992. "An Illfare Approach to the Measurement of Unemployment," Papers e9204, Western Sydney - School of Business And Technology.
    5. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-231, March.
    6. Silber, Jacques, 1989. "Factor Components, Population Subgroups and the Computation of the Gini Index of Inequality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 107-115, February.
    7. Jenkins, Stephen P & Lambert, Peter J, 1997. "Three 'I's of Poverty Curves, with an Analysis of UK Poverty Trends," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 317-327, July.
    8. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1995. "Revisiting the Sen Poverty Index," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(5), pages 1225-1230, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oleg KITOV & Ivan KITOV, 2012. "Inflation And Unemployment In Switzerland: From 1970 To 2050," Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, Spiru Haret University, Faculty of Financial Management and Accounting Craiova, vol. 7(2(20)/ Su), pages 141-156.

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