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Dynamics of Household Joblessness: Evidence from Australian Micro-Data 2001–2007

Listed author(s):
  • Nicolas Hérault


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Guyonne Kalb


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Rezida Zakirova


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

This paper investigates the persistence over time of living in a jobless household, aiming to disentangle the roles of state dependence and unobserved heterogeneity. In addition, the potential heterogeneity of state dependence is examined through estimation of interaction terms with the lagged household joblessness variable. Finally, the robustness of results is explored through the use of alternative definitions of household joblessness each based on different variables available in our data. Using the two definitions that are most different, we find substantial state dependence which is larger for women than for men under both definitions. That is, being in a jobless household in the previous year increases the probability of currently living in a jobless household by 7.7 to 17.2 percentage points for men and 12.7 to 25.1 percentage points for women. Although state dependence clearly is an important factor, as are a number of observed characteristics, unobserved heterogeneity also plays an importantrole for men and women: 32 to 40 per cent of the unexplained variance can be attributed to unobserved heterogeneity for men, and for women this is 42 to 46 per cent. A few characteristics (age, disability, student status, living outside of major cities, having a university degree, presence of preschool children) seem to affect the level of state dependence to some extent. However, aside from the age effect, which can increase state dependence by up to 50 per cent for men aged 60 to 64, the level of state dependence seems fairly homogenous amongst men and amongst women.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2011n10.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2011n10
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Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia

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  1. Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2010. "Reconciling workless measures at the individual and household level. Theory and evidence from the United States, Britain, Germany, Spain and Australia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 139-167, January.
  2. Richard Dickens & David T. Ellwood, 2001. "Whither Poverty in Great Britain and the United States? The Determinants of Changing Poverty and Whether Work Will Work," NBER Working Papers 8253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. P.W. Miller, 1997. "The burden of unemployment on family units: An overview," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 97-01, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  4. Cappellari, Lorenzo & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2009. "The Dynamics of Social Assistance Benefit Receipt in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 4457, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2002. "Employment Polarisation in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n09, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  6. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Poverty and Worklessness in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0579, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  8. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2001. "The Growth of Jobless Households in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2001n03, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  9. Scutella, Rosanna & Wooden, Mark, 2008. "The effects of household joblessness on mental health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 88-100, July.
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