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Structural Unemployment

Author

Listed:
  • Thijs van Rens

    (CREI, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, CEPR and IZA)

  • Benedikt Herz

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Abstract

There is an ongoing debate on whether the recent surge in unemployment in the US is due to cyclical or structural factors. The distinction is important because the policies required to reduce each type of unemployment are very dierent. We use a novel approach to empirically quantify the extent of structural unemployment and to shed light on its sources. We propose a simple model of a segmented labor market. Within each segment, search frictions generate unemployment. In addition, there is structural unemployment due to heterogeneity across segments. Four different types of adjustment costs give rise to structural unemployment: worker mobility costs, job mobility costs, wage setting frictions, and heterogeneity in matching efficiency. We construct data on job and worker surplus and job and worker finding rates and use them to estimate these adjustment costs and assess the contribution of each to unemployment. We find that, across US states, worker mobility costs are larger than job mobility costs. Across industries, mobility costs are very high for both workers and jobs. We then construct a time series for structural unemployment and its components. This helps us to understand the extent, to which unemployment is driven by structural factors in the current and past recessions.

Suggested Citation

  • Thijs van Rens & Benedikt Herz, 2011. "Structural Unemployment," 2011 Meeting Papers 978, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:978
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Erica L. Groshen & Simon M. Potter, 2003. "Has structural change contributed to a jobless recovery?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Aug).
    2. Regis Barnichon & Andrew Figura, 2010. "What drives movements in the unemployment rate? a decomposition of the Beveridge curve," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Christl, 2020. "A Beveridge curve decomposition for Austria: did the liberalisation of the Austrian labour market shift the Beveridge curve?," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 54(1), pages 1-15, December.
    2. Hall, R.E., 2016. "Macroeconomics of Persistent Slumps," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 2131-2181, Elsevier.
    3. Jinzhu Chen & Prakash Kannan & Prakash Loungani & Bharat Trehan, 2012. "New evidence on cyclical and structural sources of unemployment," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue March, pages 1-23.
    4. Ludo Visschers & Carlos Carrillo-Tudela, 2011. "Unemployment and Endogenous Reallocation over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 1101, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Federico Di Pace & Matthias Hertweck, 2019. "Labor Market Frictions, Monetary Policy, and Durable Goods," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 32, pages 274-304, April.
    6. Francesco Furlanetto & Nicolas Groshenny, 2016. "Mismatch Shocks and Unemployment During the Great Recession," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(7), pages 1197-1214, November.
    7. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941, Elsevier.
    8. Axtell, Robert L. & Guerrero, Omar A. & López, Eduardo, 2019. "Frictional unemployment on labor flow networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 184-201.
    9. Anna Sabadash, 2013. "ICT-induced Technological Progress and Employment: A Literature Review," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2013-07, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    10. Robert E. Hall & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2018. "Measuring Job-Finding Rates and Matching Efficiency with Heterogeneous Job-Seekers," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-32, January.
    11. Regis Barnichon & Andrew Figura, 2015. "Labor Market Heterogeneity and the Aggregate Matching Function," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 222-249, October.
    12. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John C. Haltiwanger, 2012. "Recruiting Intensity during and after the Great Recession: National and Industry Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 584-588, May.
    13. Sedláček, Petr, 2014. "Match efficiency and firms' hiring standards," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 123-133.
    14. Anna Sabadash, 2013. "ICT-induced Technological Progress and Employment: a Happy Marriage or a Dangerous Liaison? A Literature Review," JRC Working Papers JRC76143, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    15. Bauer, Anja, 2013. "Mismatch unemployment : evidence from Germany 2000-2010," IAB-Discussion Paper 201310, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    16. Carrillo-Tudela, Carlos & Visschers, Ludo, 2014. "Unemployment and Endogenous Reallocation over the Business Cycle," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-35, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    17. José Ramón García Martínez & Valeri Sorolla, 2013. "Frictional and Non Frictional Unemployment in Models with Matching Frictions," Working Papers. Serie AD 2013-02, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    18. Ludo Visschers & Carlos Carrillo-Tudela, 2011. "Unemployment and Endogenous Reallocation over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 1101, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Michal Tvrdoň, 2015. "Decomposition of Unemployment: The Case of the Visegrad group countries," Working Papers 0005, Silesian University, School of Business Administration.
    20. Domenico Ferraro, 2018. "The Asymmetric Cyclical Behavior of the U.S. Labor Market," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 30, pages 145-162, October.
    21. Yuelin Liu, 2014. "How Structural Is Unemployment in the United States?," Discussion Papers 2014-42, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    22. Ludo Visschers & Carlos Carrillo-Tudela, 2011. "Unemployment and Endogenous Reallocation over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 1101, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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