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Unemployment, Marginal Attachment and Labor Force Participation in Canada and the United States


  • Jones, Stephen R. G.

    () (McMaster University)

  • Riddell, W. Craig

    () (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)


We analyze changes in unemployment, marginal labor force attachment and participation in Canada and the U.S.. Using two complementary decompositions, we show the importance for the comparative evolution of aggregate unemployment of changes in the fraction of the non-employed who are unemployed and in the fraction of the unemployed who 'want work'. Using microdata we study labor market transition behavior at these margins, finding remarkably consistent results in the two countries, with the marginally attached displaying behavior lying between unemployment and non-attachment. The three non-employment states are distinct from one another in both Canada and the U.S.

Suggested Citation

  • Jones, Stephen R. G. & Riddell, W. Craig, 2017. "Unemployment, Marginal Attachment and Labor Force Participation in Canada and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 10769, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10769

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    unemployment; labor force participation; non-employment; marginal attachment; labor force transitions; heterogeneity;

    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
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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