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Heterogeneity in the Dynamics of Disaggregate Unemployment

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  • Hie Joo Ahn

Abstract

This paper explores the role that unobserved heterogeneity within an observed category plays in the dynamics of disaggregate unemployment and in the cross-sectional differences across individuals of the duration of unemployment spells. The distribution of unobserved heterogeneity is characterized as a mixture of two distributions with each mean and weight determined by the inflows and outflows of workers with unobserved types H and L, which are identified based on the nonlinear state-space model of Ahn and Hamilton (2016). I found that the contribution of each factor to the dynamics of disaggregate unemployment differs by observed category. The inflow of type L workers is the most important factor in the majority of demographic groups in the business-cycle frequency. I identify permanent job loss to be the observable characteristic most closely associated with the type L attribute. A simple model of heterogeneity based on two unobserved types can account for explain more than 50 percent of the cross-sectional dispersion in completed-duration spells after the Great Recession, while observed heterogeneity makes only a minor contribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Hie Joo Ahn, 2016. "Heterogeneity in the Dynamics of Disaggregate Unemployment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-063, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 29 Jul 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2016-63
    DOI: 10.17016/FEDS.2016.063
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gorry, Aspen & Munro, David & vom Lehn, Christian, 2020. "Experience, skill composition, and the persistence of unemployment fluctuations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    State space model; Unobserved heterogeneity; Genuine duration dependence; Unemployment dynamics; Extended Kalman filter; Great Recession;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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