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Unemployment Duration: Competing and Defective Risks

  • Addison, John T.


    (University of South Carolina)

  • Portugal, Pedro


    (Banco de Portugal)

This paper examines the determinants of unemployment duration in a competing risks framework with two destination states, namely, inactivity and employment. The major innovation is our recognition of defective risks. We first use a polynomial hazard function to test for the presence of two-sources of defective risks: search involving a random process of unlucky draws that yields a non-proper duration distribution; and a split-population model in which the decision by some individuals not to consider certain destination states produces a defective distribution. Having established the primacy of the latter model, we refine it using a more flexible piecewise-constant baseline hazard function. This specification broadly confirms our earlier findings but offers a more convincing explanation for positive and zero transition rates out of unemployment. Although we do not reject the null of proportionality, abandoning the proportionality assumption does not materially alter our conclusions.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 350.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Human Resources, 2003, 38 (1), 156-191
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp350
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  1. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," NBER Working Papers 0979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ridder, Geert & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2002. "A cross-country comparison of labor market frictions," Working Paper Series 2002:22, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
  4. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  5. Han, Aaron & Hausman, Jerry A, 1990. "Flexible Parametric Estimation of Duration and Competing Risk Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January-M.
  6. Pudney, Stephen & Thomas, Jonathan, 1995. "Specification Tests for the Competing Risks Duration Model: An Application to Unemployment Duration and Sectoral Movement," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(3), pages 323-47, August.
  7. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  8. John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 2002. "Job search methods and outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 505-533, July.
  9. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1996. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 36, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  10. Christopher J. Flinn, 1986. "Econometric Analysis of CPS-Type Unemployment Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 456-484.
  11. Olivier Blanchard & Pedro Portugal, 1998. "What Hides Behind an Umemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 6636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Fallick, Bruce Chelimsky, 1991. "Unemployment Insurance and the Rate of Re-employment of Displaced Workers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 228-35, May.
  13. Melkersson, Maria, 1999. "Unemployment duration and heterogenous search behavior among Swedish disabled workers," Working Paper Series 1999:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  14. Olympia Bover & Pilar García-Perea & Pedro Portugal, 2000. "Labour market outliers: Lessons from Portugal and Spain," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(31), pages 379-428, October.
  15. Bart L. W. Cockx, 2000. "Analysis Of Transition Data By The Minimum-Chi-Square Method: An Application To Welfare Spells In Belgium," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 392-405, August.
  16. Narendranathan, W. & Stewart, M.B., 1989. "Modelling The Probability Of Leaving Unemployment: Competing Risks Models With Flexible Baseline Hazards," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 331, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  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. Schmidt, Peter & Witte, Ann Dryden, 1989. "Predicting criminal recidivism using 'split population' survival time models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 141-159, January.
  19. repec:oup:restud:v:61:y:1994:i:3:p:417-34 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Portugal, Pedro & Addison, John T, 1995. "Short- and Long-Term Unemployment. A Parametric Model with Time-Varying Effects," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(2), pages 205-27, May.
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