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Unemployment and Worker-Firm Matching Theory and Evidence from East and West Europe

Author

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  • Munich, Daniel

    (University of Michigan,)

  • Svejnar, Jan

    () (University of Michigan,)

Abstract

The paper tests three hypotheses about the causes of unemployment in the Central-East European transition economies and in a benchmark market economy (Western part of Germany). The first hypothesis (H1) is that unemployment is caused by inefficient matching. Hypothesis 2 (H2) is that unemployment is caused by low demand. Hypothesis 3 (H3) is that restructuring is at work. Our estimates suggest that the west and east German parts of Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia are consistent with H2 and H3. Hungary provides limited support to all three hypotheses. Poland is consistent with H1. The economies in question hence contain one broad group of countries and one or two special cases. The group comprises the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic and (possibly) East Germany. These countries resemble West Germany in that they display increasing returns to scale in matching and unemployment appears to be driven by restructuring and low demand. The East German case is complex because of its major active labor market policies and a negative trend in efficiency in matching. In some sense, East Germany resembles more Poland, which in addition to restructuring and low demand for labor appears to suffer from a structural mismatch reflected in relatively low returns to scale in matching. Finally, our data provide evidence that goes counter to one of the main predictions of the theories of transition, namely that the turnover (inflow) rate in the transition countries would rise dramatically at the start of the transition, be temporarily very high and gradually decline and approach the level observed in otherwise similar market economies such as West Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Munich, Daniel & Svejnar, Jan, 2009. "Unemployment and Worker-Firm Matching Theory and Evidence from East and West Europe," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4810, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4810
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Boeri, Tito & Burda, Michael C., 1996. "Active labor market policies, job matching and the Czech miracle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 805-817, April.
    2. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
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    4. Storer, P, 1994. "Unemployment Dynamics and Labour Market Tightness: An Empirical Evaluation of Matching Function Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 389-419, Oct.-Dec..
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    9. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    10. Warren, Ronald Jr., 1996. "Returns to scale in a matching model of the labor market," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 135-142, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joanna Tyrowicz & Tomasz Jeruzalski, 2013. "(In)Efficiency of matching: the case of a post-transition economy," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 255-275, May.
    2. Munich, Daniel & Svejnar, Jan, 2007. "Unemployment in East and West Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 681-694, August.
    3. Pastore, Francesco, 2013. "Primum vivere… Industrial Change, Job Destruction and the Geographical Distribution of Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 7126, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Iva Tomic, 2012. "The Efficiency of the Matching Process: Exploring the Impact of Regional Employment Offices in Croatia," Working Papers 1204, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    access to information; Active Employment; Active Employment Policy; active labor; active labor market; active labor market policies; active labor market programs; Active Labour; Active Labour Market;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General

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