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Defining Unemployment in Developing Countries: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago

Author

Listed:
  • Strobl, Eric

    () (Aix-Marseille University)

  • Byrne, David

    () (Federal Reserve Board)

Abstract

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) argues for relaxing the standard definition of unemployment in developing countries by eliminating the requirement that a person be actively searching for a job. We examine whether such an extension of the standard definition is appropriate in the case of Trinidad and Tobago. Specifically, we use the Trinidad and Tobago labour force survey to examine whether active job search is important in determining the labour market transitions of the non-employed. Our results indicate that in Trinidad and Tobago males, who under the standard criteria would be considered out of the labour force because they report willingness to work but are not currently searching for a job, are appropriately classified as unemployed. Further evidence suggests that this may be because job search may not be as meaningful in rural as it is in urban areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Strobl, Eric & Byrne, David, 2002. "Defining Unemployment in Developing Countries: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago," IZA Discussion Papers 659, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp659
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
    2. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "The Dynamics of Youth Unemployment," NBER Chapters,in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 199-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 1999. "The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 147-162, January.
    4. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
    5. Robert E. Hall, 1970. "Why Is the Unemployment Rate So High at Full Employment?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 369-410.
    6. Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Geeta G. Kingdon & John B. Knight, 2000. "Are searching and non-searching unemployment distinct states when unemployment is high? The case of South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    8. Füsun Gönül, 1992. "New Evidence on Whether Unemployment and out of the Labor Force are Distinct States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(2), pages 329-361.
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    Cited by:

    1. Juan Carlos Guataquí & TABORDA, Rodrigo, 2006. "Theorical and empirical implications of the new definition of unemployment in colombia," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, June.
    2. Kuchibhotla, Murali, 2013. "Three essays in development economics," ISU General Staff Papers 201301010800004461, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Aysit Tansel & H. Mehmet Taşçı, 2010. "Hazard Analysis of Unemployment Duration by Gender in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(4), pages 501-530, December.
    4. Kingdon, Geeta & Knight, John, 2006. "The measurement of unemployment when unemployment is high," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 291-315, June.
    5. Aysit TANSEL & H. Mehmet TASCI, "undated". "Determinants of Unemployment Duration for Men and Women in Turkey," Middle East and North Africa 330400055, EcoMod.
    6. Eliane El Badaoui & Eric Strobl & Frank Walsh, 2008. "Is There an Informal Employment Wage Penalty? Evidence from South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 683-710.
    7. El Badaoui, Eliane & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2010. "The formal sector wage premium and firm size," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 37-47, January.
    8. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-460 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ayça Akarçay Gürbüz & Sezgin Polat & Mustafa Ulus, 2014. "In Limbo: Exploring Transition to Discouragement," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 26(4), pages 527-551, September.
    10. Bino Paul G.D, 2009. "India Labour Market Report 2008," Working Papers id:1943, eSocialSciences.
    11. Eric Strobl & Marie-Anne Valfort, 2015. "The Effect of Weather-Induced Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets. Evidence from Uganda," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(2), pages 385-412.
    12. repec:eee:injoed:v:61:y:2018:i:c:p:92-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Matteo Richiardi, 2002. "What Does the ECHP Tell Us About Labour Status Misperception: a Journey in Less Known Regions of Labour Discomfort," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 10, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    14. Sergeant, Kelvin & Lugay, Beverly & Dookie, Michele & Alleyne, Dillon & Hendrickson, Michael & Seuleiman, Océane, 2011. "Review of selected areas of research on the Caribbean subregion in the 2000s: identifying the main gaps," Documentos de Proyectos 546, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    15. Aysit Tansel & H. Mehmet Tasci, 2003. "Determinants of Unemployment Duration For Men and Women," Working Papers 0332, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 2003.
    16. Garrido, Luis & Toharia, Luis, 2004. "What does it take to be (counted as) unemployed? The case of Spain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 507-523, August.
    17. Liana SON & Gratiela Georgiana CARICA, 2010. "The Dynamics of the European Labour Market and Unemployment in the Present Context of Global Economic Crisis: The Case of Romania," Timisoara Journal of Economics, West University of Timisoara, Romania, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 3(1(9)), pages 57-64.
    18. repec:ate:journl:ajbev3i3-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Strobl, Eric, 2003. "Is Education Used as a Signaling Device for Productivity in Developing Countries? Evidence from Ghana," IZA Discussion Papers 683, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    developing countries; definition of unemployment; job search;

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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