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Explaining high unemployment among low-skilled workers: Evidence from 21 European and Anglo-Saxon countries, 1991-2006

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  • Oesch, Daniel

Abstract

The OECD’s unemployment problem is largely concentrated among low-skilled workers. In this paper, four explanations of low-skilled workers’ unemployment are examined: wage-setting institutions, employment regulation, globalization, and monetary policy. The analysis is based on pooled regressions for 21 affluent countries over the period 1991-2006. Our findings provide no support for the hypothesis that low-skilled workers’ employment prospects are hindered by legal minimum wages or strict employment protection. Likewise, large wage inequality does not seem to be a necessary condition for countries to achieve low rates of low-skilled unemployment. In contrast, investment in active labour market policies pays off in form of less low-skilled unemployment. Additionally, low real interest rates are associated with significantly less low-skilled unemployment. Hence, low-skilled workers’ job prospects seem enhanced by a combination of active labour market policies with a monetary policy that allows the economy to fully exploit its growth potential.

Suggested Citation

  • Oesch, Daniel, 2009. "Explaining high unemployment among low-skilled workers: Evidence from 21 European and Anglo-Saxon countries, 1991-2006," MPRA Paper 21041, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21041
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment; low-skilled workers; wage inequality; monetary policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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