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U.S. Unemployment Duration: Has Long Become Longer or Short Become Shorter?

Author

Listed:
  • Machado, José

    () (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

  • Portugal, Pedro

    () (Banco de Portugal)

  • Guimarães, Juliana

    () (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco)

Abstract

The U.S. labor market has been experiencing unprecedented high average unemployment duration. The shift in the unemployment duration distribution can be traced back to the early nineties. In this study, censored quantile regression methods are employed to analyze the changes in the US unemployment duration distribution. We explore the decomposition method proposed by Machado and Mata (2005) to disentangle the contribution of the changes generated by the covariate distribution and by the conditional distribution. The data used in this inquiry are taken from the nationally representative Displaced Worker Surveys of 1988 and 1998. We provide evidence that the change in the unemployment duration distribution is mainly produced by the opposing effects of a sharp rise in job-to-job transition rates and an increased sensitivity of unemployment duration to unemployment rates. Compositional changes in the labor force played a limited role. We rationalize our findings by arguing that improved screening technology is likely to be the relevant underlying mechanism at work.

Suggested Citation

  • Machado, José & Portugal, Pedro & Guimarães, Juliana, 2006. "U.S. Unemployment Duration: Has Long Become Longer or Short Become Shorter?," IZA Discussion Papers 2174, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2174
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald Bachmann & Mathias Sinning, 2016. "Decomposing the Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(6), pages 853-876, December.
    2. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Wilke, Ralf A., 2007. "New insights on unemployment duration and post unemployment earnings in Germany: censored Box-Cox quantile regression at work," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-007, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Mukoyama, Toshihiko & Sahin, Aysegl, 2009. "Why did the average duration of unemployment become so much longer?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 200-209, March.
    4. Rubiana Chamarbagwala, 2010. "Economic liberalization and urban–rural inequality in India: a quantile regression analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 371-394, October.
    5. Philip Ball & Ralf Wilke, "undated". "Job seeker's allowance in Great Britain: How does the regional labour market affect the duration until job finding?," Discussion Papers 09/03, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
    6. Josep Pijoan-Mas & Hernan Ruffo & Claudio Michelacci, 2012. "Inequality in Unemployment Risk and in Wages," 2012 Meeting Papers 794, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Bernd Fitzenberger & Ralf A. Wilke, 2010. "New Insights into Unemployment Duration and Post Unemployment Earnings in Germany," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 72(6), pages 794-826, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    quantile regression; duration analysis; unemployment duration; counterfactual decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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