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Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment Reconsidered

  • S. Lael Brainard
  • David M. Cutler

This paper examines the importance of sectoral reallocation and cyclical unemployment; in the postwar US economy. It develops a new measure of reallocation shocks based on the variance of industry stock market excess returns over time, termed cross section volatility. Data on unemployment and vacancies is used to establish that the cross section volatility series is effective in isolating reallocation shocks. The series is then used to measure the contribution of reallocation shocks to aggregate unemployment and to unemployment; of varying durations. On average, about 40 percent of aggregate unemployment is explained by reallocation, but much of the variance of unemployment through time is better explained by cyclical shocks. Reallocation shocks account; for a relatively larger share of long duration unemployment.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3491.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3491.

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Date of creation: Oct 1990
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Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, February 1993, pp.219-243.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3491
Note: LS
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  1. Loungani, Prakash & Rogerson, Richard, 1989. "Cyclical fluctuations and sectoral reallocation : Evidence from the PSID," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 259-273, March.
  2. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
  3. Christie, Andrew A., 1982. "The stochastic behavior of common stock variances : Value, leverage and interest rate effects," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 407-432, December.
  4. Loungani, Prakash, 1986. "Oil Price Shocks and the Dispersion Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(3), pages 536-39, August.
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