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What Happens When Canadian Aggregate Rates of Employment and Unemployment Change? A Note on the Differences in Response Patterns Across Age and Sex Groups


  • Frank T. Denton
  • Byron G. Spencer


The paper considers age-sex patterns of fluctuation of employment, unemployment, labour force participation, hours worked per employee, and hours worked per capita. The patterns are extracted (by regression) from annual data for the period 1976-2011 and expressed in the form of group-to-aggregate elasticities. An additive relationship among the elasticities is noted and used to decompose the variation of per capita hours worked into source contributions. On that basis, participation and employee hours are found to be significant contributors generally over the working age range, but especially among young workers. The results suggest a considerable amount of "hidden" unemployment during cyclical downturns.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 2012. "What Happens When Canadian Aggregate Rates of Employment and Unemployment Change? A Note on the Differences in Response Patterns Across Age and Sex Groups," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 450, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:qseprr:450

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lewbel, Arthur, 1990. "Income distribution movements and aggregate money illusion," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 35-42.
    2. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "Aggregation and consumer behaviour: some recent results," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 235-252, September.
    3. Frank Denton & Dean Mountain, 2004. "Aggregation effects on price and expenditure elasticities in a quadratic almost ideal demand system," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 613-628, August.
    4. Howe, Howard & Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Theory and Time Series Estimation of the Quadratic Expenditure System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1231-1247, September.
    5. Denton, Frank T. & Mountain, Dean C., 2001. "Income distribution and aggregation/disaggregation biases in the measurement of consumer demand elasticities," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 21-28, October.
    6. Slottje, Daniel, 2008. "Estimating demand systems and measuring consumer preferences," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 207-209, December.
    7. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
    8. Blundell, Richard & Pashardes, Panos & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "What Do We Learn About Consumer Demand Patterns from Micro Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 570-597, June.
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    More about this item


    Cyclical labour force behaviour; age-sex employment and unemployment rates; hidden unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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