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Labour Force Participation and the Business Cycle: A Comparative Analysis of Europe, Japan and the United States

  • Julia Darby
  • Robert A Hart
  • Michaela Vecchi

Using OECD data from 1970 until 1995, we estimate systems of labour force participation equations, disaggregated by age and sex, for the United States, Japan, France and Sweden. We simulate the path of participation rates following shocks to GDP and also test for asymmetric responses to shocks occurring in upward and downward phases of the cycle. Our methodology is especially pertinent to the issue of hidden unemployment and the "discouraged worker effect". We find that this effect is essentially a female phenomenon with a particular concentration among 45 to 54 year olds.

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Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 9802.

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Date of creation: Feb 1998
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Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:9802
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  1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Working Papers 1950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hart, Robert A & Malley, Jim, 1996. "Excess Labour and the Business Cycle: A Comparative Study of Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 325-42, May.
  3. Robert J. Gordon, 1981. "Why U.S. Wage and Employment Behavior Differs from That in Britain and Japan," NBER Working Papers 0809, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michela VECCHI, 1996. "Increasing Returns versus Externalities: Pro-Cyclical Productivity in US and Japan," Working Papers 83, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  5. Tachibanaki, Toshiaki & Sakurai, Kojiro, 1991. "Labour supply and unemployment in Japan," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1575-1587, December.
  6. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  7. Harvey, A C & Jaeger, A, 1993. "Detrending, Stylized Facts and the Business Cycle," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 231-47, July-Sept.
  8. Siv Gustafsson & Frank Stafford, 1992. "Child Care Subsidies and Labor Supply in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 204-230.
  9. Robert J. Hodrick & Edward Prescott, 1981. "Post-War U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Discussion Papers 451, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Tetsuji Yamada & Tadashi Yamada & Guorn Liu, 1990. "Determinants of Saving and Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Japan," NBER Working Papers 3292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Connelly, Rachel, 1992. "The Effect of Child Care Costs on Married Women's Labor Force Participation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 83-90, February.
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