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Speed of Technical Progress and Length of the Average Interjob Period

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  • William J. Baumol
  • Edward N. Wolff

Abstract

The mean duration of unemployment has approximately doubled in the U.S. between the early 1950s and the mid-1990s, with most of the increase occurring since the early 1970s. We first construct a simple model linking the average duration of unemployment with the speed of technical change. Using aggregate time-series data for the U.S., we find strong evidence that both the rate of TFP growth and investment in office, computing, and accounting equipment (OCA) per employee have a significant positive effect on mean unemployment duration. Moreover, literally all of the two-thirds rise in mean unemployment duration between 1971 and 1994 (two similar points in the business cycle) can be attributed to increases in OCA investment.
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  • William J. Baumol & Edward N. Wolff, 1998. "Speed of Technical Progress and Length of the Average Interjob Period," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_237, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_237
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Buiter, Willem H, 1980. "Walras' Law and All That: Budget Constraints and Balance Sheet Constraints in Period Models and Continuous Time Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 1-16, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert G. Valletta, 1998. "Changes in the structure and duration of U.S. unemployment, 1967-1998," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 29-40.
    2. 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.
    3. José Ferreira Machado & Pedro Portugal & Juliana Guimarães, 2006. "U.S. Unemployment Duration: Has Long Become Longer or Short Become Shorter?," Working Papers w200613, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    4. Bharat Trehan, 2003. "Productivity shocks and the unemployment rate," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 13-27.
    5. Lücke, Matthias, 1999. "Sectoral value added prices, TFP growth, and the low-skilled wage in high-income countries," Kiel Working Papers 923, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

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