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Labor Market Dysfunction During the Great Recession

Author

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  • Kyle F. Herkenhoff
  • Lee E. Ohanian

Abstract

This paper documents the abnormally slow recovery in the labor market during the Great Recession, and analyzes how mortgage modification policies contributed to delayed recovery. By making modifications means-tested by reducing mortgage payments based on a borrower's current income, these programs change the incentive for households to relocate from a relatively poor labor market to a better labor market. We find that modifications raise the unemployment rate by about 0.5 percentage points, and reduce output by about 1 percent, reflecting both lower employment and lower productivity, which is the result of individuals losing skills as unemployment duration is longer.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Lee E. Ohanian, 2011. "Labor Market Dysfunction During the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 17313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17313
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17313.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Neil Bania & Laura Leete, 2009. "Monthly household income volatility in the U.S., 1991/92 vs. 2002/03," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 2100-2112.
    2. John Kennan & James R. Walker, 2011. "The Effect of Expected Income on Individual Migration Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 211-251, January.
    3. Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam, 2012. "Negative equity does not reduce homeowners’ mobility," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Feb, pages 1-17.
    4. Andrew Haughwout & Ebiere Okah & Joseph Tracy, 2016. "Second Chances: Subprime Mortgage Modification and Redefault," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(4), pages 771-793, June.
    5. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Why don't Lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? Redefaults, self-cures and securitization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 835-853.
    6. Morris A. Davis & Jonas D. M. Fisher & Marcelo Veracierto, 2010. "The role of housing in labor reallocation," Working Paper Series WP-2010-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    7. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Human Capital, Technology, and the Wage Structure: What Do Time Series Show?," NBER Working Papers 3581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ohanian, Lee E., 2009. "What - or who - started the great depression?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2310-2335, November.
    9. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Wenli Li, 2010. "Mortgage foreclosure prevention efforts," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 2010. "Housing busts and household mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 34-45, July.
    11. Oswald Andrew J., 1996. "A Conjecture on the Explanation for High Unemployment in the Industrialized Nations : Part I," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 475, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    12. Hernan Winkler, 2011. "The Effect of Homeownership on Geographic Mobility and Labor Market Outcomes," 2011 Meeting Papers 196, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Casey B. Mulligan, 2010. "Aggregate Implications of Labor Market Distortions: The Recession of 2008-9 and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 15681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Lee E. Ohanian, 2010. "The Economic Crisis from a Neoclassical Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 45-66, Fall.
    15. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
    16. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Eyigungor, Burcu, 2009. "Foreclosures and house price dynamics: a quantitative analysis of the mortgage crisis and the foreclosure prevention policy," Working Papers 09-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Edward P. Lazear & James R. Spletzer, 2012. "The United States labor market: status quo or a new normal?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 405-451.
    2. Valletta, Robert G., 2013. "House lock and structural unemployment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 86-97.
    3. Jan Svejnar & Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas van der Velde, 2015. "Productivity and Inequality Effects of Rapid Labor Reallocation – Insights from a Meta-Analysis of Studies on Transition," Working Papers 2015-11, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    4. Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas Velde & Jan Svejnar, 2017. "Effects Of Labor Reallocation On Productivity And Inequality—Insights From Studies On Transition," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 712-732, July.
    5. Kyle Herkenhoff, 2014. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Unemployment," 2014 Meeting Papers 448, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Casey B. Mulligan, 2012. "Do Welfare Policies Matter for Labor Market Aggregates? Quantifying Safety Net Work Incentives since 2007," NBER Working Papers 18088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gordon Phillips & Kyle Herkenhoff, 2015. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Constraints on Earnings, Sorting, and Job Finding Rates of Displaced Workers," 2015 Meeting Papers 375, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Ohanian, Lee E. & Raffo, Andrea, 2012. "Aggregate hours worked in OECD countries: New measurement and implications for business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 40-56.
    9. Shai Bernstein & Timothy McQuade & Richard R. Townsend, 2017. "Does Economic Insecurity Affect Employee Innovation?," NBER Working Papers 24011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Virginie Mamadouh & Luiza Bialasiewicz & Gordon F. Mulligan & Neil Reid & Michael S. Moore, 2016. "The Current Health of Metropolitan Labour Markets in the United States," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 107(2), pages 232-253, April.
    11. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Why don't Lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? Redefaults, self-cures and securitization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 835-853.
    12. Casey B. Mulligan, 2013. "Recent Marginal Labor Income Tax Rate Changes by Skill and Marital Status," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 69-100.
    13. Casey B. Mulligan, 2011. "The Expanding Social Safety Net," NBER Working Papers 17654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Lee E. Ohanian, 2015. "The Impact of Foreclosure Delay on U.S. Employment," NBER Working Papers 21532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Kyle F. Herkenhoff, 2012. "Informal unemployment insurance and labor market dynamics," Working Papers 2012-057, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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