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Analysis of the discouraged worker phenomenon. Evidence from micro data

In this paper we analyze labor force participation with particular reference to the discouraged worker effect. The theoretical point of departure is a simple model where the worker evaluates the expected utility of searching for work, and decides to participate in the labor market if the expected utility of the search exceeds the utility of not working. With suitable assumptions about unobserved and observed heterogeneity we derive an empirical model for the probability that the worker will be unemployed or employed as a function of the probability of getting a job, given that the worker searches for work. The model is estimated on Norwegian micro-data consisting of independent cross sections over 15 years. The results indicate that there is a substantial discouraged worker effect.

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Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 453.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:453
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  1. Clarence D. Long, 1958. "The Labor Force Under Changing Income and Employment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number long58-1, May.
  2. Blundell, Richard & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Unemployment and Female Labour Supply," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 44-64, Supplemen.
  3. Benati, Luca, 2001. "Some empirical evidence on the 'discouraged worker' effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 387-395, March.
  4. Blundell, Richard & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1998. "Unemployment, discouraged workers and female labour supply," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 103-131, June.
  5. Cem Baslevent & Ozlem Onaran, 2003. "Are Married Women in Turkey More Likely to Become Added or Discouraged Workers?," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 17(3), pages 439-458, 09.
  6. Dagsvik, J.K. & Laisney, F. & Strom, S. & Ostervold, J., 1988. "Female Labour Supply And The Tax Benefit System In France," Memorandum 04/1988, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  7. Darby, Julia & Hart, Robert A. & Vecchi, Michela, 2001. "Labour force participation and the business cycle: a comparative analysis of France, Japan, Sweden and the United States," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 113-133, April.
  8. Burdett, Kenneth, et al, 1984. "Earnings, Unemployment, and the Allocation of Time over Time," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 559-78, October.
  9. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
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