IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Re-Employment Probabilities over the Business Cycle


  • Imbens, Guido W.

    () (Stanford University)

  • Lynch, Lisa M.

    () (Brandeis University)


Using a Cox proportional hazard model that allows for a flexible time dependence in order to incorporate business cycle effects, we analyze the determinants of reemployment probabilities of young workers in the U.S. from 1978-1989. We find considerable changes in the chances of young workers finding jobs over the business cycle despite the fact that personal characteristics of those starting jobless spells do not vary much over time. Therefore, government programs that target specific demographic groups may change individuals’ positions within the queue of job seekers, but may only have a more limited impact on average re-employment probabilities. Living in an area with high local unemployment reduces re-employment chances as does being in a long spell of non-employment. However, the damage associated with being in a long spell seems to be reduced somewhat if a worker is unemployed in an area with high overall unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Imbens, Guido W. & Lynch, Lisa M., 2006. "Re-Employment Probabilities over the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 2167, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2167

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2001. "Combining micro and macro unemployment duration data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 271-309, June.
    2. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-782, July.
    3. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    4. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, June.
    5. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, January.
    6. Dynarski, Mark & Sheffrin, Steven M, 1990. "The Behavior of Unemployment Durations over the Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 350-356, May.
    7. Rebecca M. Blank & David E. Card, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-1189.
    8. J. Heckman & B. Singer, 1984. "The Identifiability of the Proportional Hazard Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 231-241.
    9. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2001. "Duration models: specification, identification and multiple durations," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 55, pages 3381-3460 Elsevier.
    10. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Layoffs, Recall and the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Barsky, Robert B & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1989. "The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 503-534, June.
    12. Darby, Michael R & Haltiwanger, John C & Plant, Mark W, 1985. "Unemployment Rate Dynamics and Persistent Unemployment under Rational Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 614-637, September.
    13. van den Berg, Gerard J & van Ours, Jan C, 1996. "Unemployment Dynamics and Duration Dependence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 100-125, January.
    14. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The cyclicality of hires, separations, and job-to-job transitions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 493-508.
    15. Imbens, G W, 1994. "Transition Models in a Non-stationary Environment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 703-720, November.
    16. repec:fth:harver:1515 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Models for the Analysis of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Solon, Gary R, 1985. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 295-306, March.
    19. Lynch, Lisa M, 1989. "The Youth Labor Market in the Eighties: Determinants of Re-employment Probabilities for Young Men and Women," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 37-45, February.
    20. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
    21. Baker, Michael, 1992. "Unemployment Duration: Compositional Effects and Cyclical Variability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 313-321, March.
    22. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1990. "The Cyclical Behovior of the Gross Flows of U.S. Workers," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(2), pages 85-156.
    23. Honore, Bo E, 1990. "Simple Estimation of a Duration Model with Unobserved Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 453-473, March.
    24. Lancaster, Tony, 1979. "Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 939-956, July.
    25. Lisa M. Lynch, 1989. "Private Sector Training and its Impact on the Earnings of Young Workers," NBER Working Papers 2872, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Narendranathan, W & Nickell, S & Stern, J, 1985. "Unemployment Benefits Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(378), pages 307-329, June.
    27. Lynch, Lisa M, 1991. "The Role of Off-the-Job vs. On-the-Job Training for the Mobility of Women Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 151-156, May.
    28. Chris Elbers & Geert Ridder, 1982. "True and Spurious Duration Dependence: The Identifiability of the Proportional Hazard Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 403-409.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    business cycle; duration dependence; unemployment;

    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
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2167. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.