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Labor force participation and the discouraged worker effect

This paper analyzes labor force participation with particular reference to the discouraged worker effect. Discouraged workers are those who do not search for work because they view their chances of finding a suitable job as too low. The theoretical point of departure is a search 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. From this framework we derive an empirical model for the probability that the worker will be unemployed or employed as a function of the probability of getting an acceptable job, given that the worker searches for work. The model is estimated on a sample of married and cohabitating women in Norway covering the period from 1988 to 2008. The results show that the discouraged worker effect is substantial. On average, about one third of those who are out of the labor force are discouraged according to our analysis.

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Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 642.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:642
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  1. John K. Dagsvik & Tom Kornstad & Terje Skjerpen, 2006. "Analysis of the discouraged worker phenomenon. Evidence from micro data," Discussion Papers 453, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  2. Sara Connolly, 1997. "A model of female labour supply in which supply is dependent upon the chances of finding a job," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(10), pages 1379-1386.
  3. Bloemen, Hans G., 2003. "Job search, search intensity and labour market transitions : an empirical analysis," Serie Research Memoranda 0026, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  4. John Dagsvik & Tom Kornstad & Terje Skjerpen, 2013. "Labor force participation and the discouraged worker effect," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 401-433, August.
  5. Bolduc, Denis & Khalaf, Lynda & Yélou, Clément, 2010. "Identification robust confidence set methods for inference on parameter ratios with application to discrete choice models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 157(2), pages 317-327, August.
  6. James J. Heckman & Christopher J. Flinn, 1982. "New Methods for Analyzing Structural Models of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Benati, Luca, 2001. "Some empirical evidence on the 'discouraged worker' effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 387-395, March.
  8. Blundell, Richard William & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Unemployment and Female Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Dagsvik, John K. & Strøm, Steinar, 2004. "Sectoral labor supply, choice restrictions and functional form," Memorandum 13/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  10. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  11. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  12. 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.
  13. Arne Risa Hole, 2007. "A comparison of approaches to estimating confidence intervals for willingness to pay measures," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 827-840.
  14. Krinsky, Itzhak & Robb, A Leslie, 1986. "On Approximating the Statistical Properties of Elasticities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 715-19, November.
  15. Emerson, Jamie, 2011. "Unemployment and labor force participation in the United States," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 203-206, June.
  16. 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.
  17. Krinsky, Itzhak & Robb, A Leslie, 1990. "On Approximating the Statistical Properties of Elasticities: A Correction," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(1), pages 189-90, February.
  18. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey: Part I," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(2), pages 155-89, June.
  19. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-68, September.
  20. 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.
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