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Asymmetric labor force participation decisions over the business cycle: evidence from U.S. microdata

  • Julie L. Hotchkiss
  • John C. Robertson

The purpose of this paper is to explore the microfoundations of the observed asymmetric movement in aggregate unemployment rates. Using U.S. data, we find that individual labor force participation responds asymmetrically to changes in local labor market conditions, consistent with the pattern of movements in the aggregate unemployment rate. Differences in the asymmetry and sensitivity of labor force participation decisions are found across gender, age, and education groups, and these differences are used to anticipate changes in the aggregate movements as population characteristics change over time.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2006-08.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2006-08
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  1. Hilary Hoynes, 1999. "The Employment, Earnings, and Income of Less Skilled Workers Over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2001. "The Racial Wage Gap: The Importance of Labor Force Attachment Differences Across Black, Mexican and White Men," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2001-35, Claremont Colleges.
  3. Erica L. Groshen & Simon Potter, 2003. "Has structural change contributed to a jobless recovery?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Aug).
  4. Anne E. Polivka, 1996. "Data Watch: The Redesigned Current Population Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 169-180, Summer.
  5. Darby, Julia & Hart, Robert A. & Vecchi, Michela, 2001. "Labour force participation and the business cycle: a comparative analysis of France, Japan, Sweden and the United States," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 113-133, April.
  6. Philip Rothman, . "Forecasting Asymmetric Unemployment Rates," Working Papers 9618, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  7. Clarence D. Long, 1958. "The Labor Force Under Changing Income and Employment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number long58-1, December.
  8. Rebecca M. Blank & Heidi Shierholz, 2006. "Exploring Gender Differences in Employment and Wage Trends Among Less-Skilled Workers," NBER Working Papers 12494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "A quantitative theory of the gender gap in wages," Working Papers 2010-04, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales, revised 20 Oct 2010.
  10. Robert S. Gay & William L. Wascher, 1989. "Persistence Effects in Labor Force Participation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 177-187, Jul-Sep.
  11. James D. Hamilton, 2005. "What's real about the business cycle?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 435-452.
  12. Lisa Barrow, 2004. "Is the official unemployment rate misleading? a look at labor market statistics over the business cycle," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 21-35.
  13. Simon Burgess & Hélène Turon, 2005. "Unemployment dynamics in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 423-448, 04.
  14. Gunnar Bårdsen & Stan Hurn & Zoë McHugh, 2002. "A smooth-transition model of the Australian unemployment rate," Working Paper Series 1002, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, revised 01 Jul 2003.
  15. H. Naci Mocan & Turan G. Bali, 2005. "Asymmetric Crime Cycles," NBER Working Papers 11210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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