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

  • Munich, Daniel

    (University of Michigan,)

  • Svejnar, Jan

    ()

    (University of Michigan,)

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.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4810.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 03 Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4810
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  1. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  2. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Working Paper Series 481, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
  4. Boeri, Tito & Burda, Michael C, 1995. "Active Labour Market Policies, Job Matching and the Czech Miracle," CEPR Discussion Papers 1302, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2006. "Technology-policy interaction in frictional labor markets," Working Paper 06-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  6. 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.
  7. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1988. "Testing for individual effects in autoregressive models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 297-307, November.
  8. Suits, Daniel B & Mason, Andrew & Chan, Louis, 1978. "Spline Functions Fitted by Standard Regression Methods," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 132-39, February.
  9. 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..
  10. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  11. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
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