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The Heterogeneity and Cyclical Sensitivity of Unemployment: An Exploration of German Labor Market Flows

  • Schmidt, Christoph M.

    ()

    (RWI)

It is often argued that the labor market outcomes of several "problem groups" of German workers suffer disproportionately in an economic downturn. These groups are women, the unskilled, and young and old workers, respectively. Using monthly individual-level data for West Germany for the period 1983 to 1994, this paper explores both the demographic heterogeneity of German unemployment in the long term, and the cyclical sensitivity of the unemployment experience across demographic groups. The analysis moves beyond that of unemployment rates to a detailed investigation of transition rates from employment to unemployment and vice versa. While long-term differences across demographic groups are dominating the structure of both job loss and re-employment, estimation of a nonlinear regression model reveals additional aspects of cyclical sensitivity. In particular, young workers experience drastically more pronounced swings in their labor market performance than the average worker, whereas old workers seem basically isolated from the economic cycle. By contrast, in terms of its cyclical sensitivity, the labor market performance of women and of unskilled workers is not dramatically different from that of the average worker.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 84.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Dec 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Ifo Studien, 2000, 46 (1), 73-98
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp84
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  1. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "Gross Job Creation and Destruction: Microeconomic Evidence and Macroeconomic Implications," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 123-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  3. Boeri, Tito & Cramer, Ulrich, 1992. "Employment growth, incumbents and entrants : Evidence from Germany," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 545-565, December.
  4. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Reporting Errors and Labor Market Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1319-38, November.
  5. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  6. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
  7. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, . "The Measurement Of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 09, McMaster University.
  8. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 1994. "Gross worker and job flows in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1287-1315, June.
  9. Schmidt, Christoph M., 1997. "Immigrant performance in Germany: Labor earnings of ethnic German migrants and foreign guest-workers," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(Supplemen), pages 379-397.
  10. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  11. Davis, Steven J & Haltiwanger, John C, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-63, August.
  12. 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.
  13. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1995. "Unemployment Benefits and Labor Market Transitions: A Multinomial Logit Model with Errors in Classification," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 207-16, May.
  14. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  15. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-83, June.
  16. Daniel Cohen & Arnaud Lefranc & Gilles Saint-Paul, 1997. "French unemployment: a transatlantic perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(25), pages 265-292, October.
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