IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Comparative Analysis of Labor Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence

  • Giuseppe Bertola
  • Francine D. Blau
  • Lawrence M. Kahn

We analyze a 1960-96 panel of OECD countries to explain why the US moved from relatively high to relatively low unemployment over the last three decades. We find that while macroeconomic and demographic shocks and changing labor market institutions explain a modest portion of this change, the interaction of these shocks and labor market institutions is the most important factor explaining the shift in US relative unemployment. Our finding of the central importance of these interactions is consistent with Blanchard and Wolfers (2000). We also show that, controlling for country- and time-specific effects, high employment is associated with low wage levels and high levels of wage inequality. These findings suggest that US relative unemployment has fallen in recent years in part because its more flexible labor market institutions allow shocks to affect real and relative wages to a greater degree than is true in other countries. Disaggregating, we find that the employment of both younger and older people fell sharply in other countries relative to the United States since the 1970s, with much smaller differences in outcomes among the prime-aged. In the late 1990s, the US had lower unemployment than our models predict, suggesting exceptionally favorable recent US experience.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8526.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8526.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Oct 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Krueger, Alan and Robert Solow (eds.) The Roaring Nineties, Russell Sage Foundaton The Century Foundation (2001).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8526
Note: LS EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Laurence Ball & Robert Moffitt, 2001. "Productivity Growth and the Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. van Ours, J.C. & Nickell, S.J., 2000. "The Netherlands and the United Kingdom : A European unemployment miracle?," Other publications TiSEM 8dc4101d-6e72-44dd-9ab0-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  3. Harry C. Katz, 1993. "The decentralization of collective bargaining: A literature review and comparative analysis," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(1), pages 3-22, October.
  4. Krueger, A. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle," Working papers 97-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Robert E. Hall, 1970. "Why Is the Unemployment Rate So High at Full Employment?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 369-410.
  6. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Working Paper Series 481, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. Richard B. Freeman & Robert Topel & Birgitta Swedenborg, 1997. "The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free97-1, October.
  8. Anders Bjorklund & Richard B. Freeman, 1997. "Generating Equality and Eliminating Poverty, the Swedish Way," NBER Chapters, in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 33-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jonathan Gruber & David Wise, 1997. "Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Introduction and Summary of Papers by..," NBER Working Papers 6134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Giuseppe BERTOLA & Tito BOERI & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "Employment protection in industrialized countries: The case for new indicators," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(1), pages 57-72, 03.
  11. Wyplosz, Charles, 1997. "EMU: Why and How It Might Happen," CEPR Discussion Papers 1685, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 791-836, August.
  13. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, . "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," Working Papers 122, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  14. Matthew Higgins & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1999. "Explaining inequality the world round: cohort size, Kuznets curves, and openness," Staff Reports 79, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  15. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1997. "Cohort Crowding and Youth Labor Markets: A Cross-National Analysis," NBER Working Papers 6031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, October.
  17. Robert Shimer, 1999. "The Impact of Young Workers on the Aggregate Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 1999. "The Role of Wage and Skill Differences in US-German Employment Differences," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 219(1+2), pages 49-66, July.
  19. 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.
  20. Laurence Ball, 1999. "Aggregate demand and Long-Run Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(2), pages 189-252.
  21. Nickell, S. & Layard, R., 1997. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  22. Agell, Jonas & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1997. "Minimum wages and the incentives for skill formation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 25-40, April.
  23. Cukierman, A. & Lippi, F., 1998. "Central Bank Independence, Centralization of Wage Bargaining, Inflation and Unemployment - Theory and Some Evidence," Discussion Paper 1998-116, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  24. Agell, J. & Lommerud, K.E., 1990. "Union Egalitarianism As Income Insurance," Papers 1990a, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  25. Anders Forslund & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "An Evaluation of the Swedish Active Labor Market Policy: New and Received Wisdom," NBER Chapters, in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 267-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. Freeman, Richard B, 1980. "The Exit-Voice Tradeoff in the Labor Market: Unionism, Job Tenure, Quits, and Separations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 643-73, June.
  28. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
  29. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Jean-Luc Grosso, 2000. "The Effect of Dismissals Protection on Employment: More on a Vexed Theme," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 105-122, July.
  30. Harry C. Katz, 1993. "The Decentralization of Collective Bargaining: A Literature Review and Comparative Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(1), pages 3-22, October.
  31. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "The Exit-Voice Tradeoff in the Labor Market: Unionism, Job Tenure, Quits," NBER Working Papers 0242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1999. "Microeconomic perspectives on aggregate labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 45, pages 2985-3028 Elsevier.
  33. Oliver J. Blanchard, 1997. "The Medium Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 89-158.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8526. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.