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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. Andres Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2005. "A quantitative theory of the gender gap in wages," Working Paper 05-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  2. James D. Hamilton, 2005. "What's Real About the Business Cycle?," NBER Working Papers 11161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Philip Rothman, . "Forecasting Asymmetric Unemployment Rates," Working Papers 9618, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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  7. Robert S. Gay & William L. Wascher, 1985. "Persistence effects in labor force participation," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Note: For best results & the figures should be printed on a non-Postscript printer. Hoynes & H., . "The Employment, Earnings, and Income of Less-Skilled Workers over the Business Cycle," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1199-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. H. Naci Mocan & Turan G. Bali, 2010. "Asymmetric Crime Cycles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 899-911, November.
  12. 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.
  13. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2004. "The Racial Wage Gap: The Importance of Labor Force Attachment Differences across Black, Mexican, and White Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  14. 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.
  15. Clarence D. Long, 1958. "The Labor Force Under Changing Income and Employment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number long58-1, 07.
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