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How Structural Is Unemployment in the United States?

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  • Yuelin Liu

    (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)

Abstract

In this paper, the role of matching efficiency (equivalently, mismatch) at the aggregate level in driving unemployment fluctuations is estimated using a TVP-SVAR model. Modelling mismatch at the aggregate level sidesteps the problematic implicit assumption of orthogonality of sources of mismatch at disaggregated levels (industrial, occupational, geographical, etc.) and is not sensitive to the level of disaggregation by construction. Observing that estimated aggregate matching efficiency lags business cycles, I identify a structural shock to aggregate matching efficiency using standard timing restrictions. Based on impulse response analysis and forecast error variance decompositions, I conclude that the matching efficiency shock explains no more than 20% of the variation in unemployment in the United States between 1967-2013, whereas aggregate shocks explain well above 70% of unemployment fluctuations. Related, the rise in the unemployment rate during the Great Recession is dominated by a slump in aggregate demand rather than driven by structural factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuelin Liu, 2014. "How Structural Is Unemployment in the United States?," Discussion Papers 2014-42, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2014-42
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    File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2014-42.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
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    5. Yuelin Liu & James Morley, 2013. "Structural Evolution of the Postwar U.S. Economy," Discussion Papers 2013-15, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Aggregate matching efficiency; Mismatch; Structural unemployment; Timevarying parameter vector autoregression (TVP-VAR);
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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