IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Mystery Of Regional Unemployment Differentialsa Survey Of Theoretical And Empirical Explanations

  • Elhorst, J. Paul

This paper attempts to provide an integrated overview of theoretical and empirical explanations used in the applied literature on regional unemployment differentials. On the basis of 41 empirical studies, four different model types covering nine theoretical constructs of regional unemployment determination and 13 sets of explanatory variables are identified. The overall conclusion is that theoretical and empirical explanations help to reduce the weaknesses in each other. While theory is found to predict that the regional unemployment rate depends on labour supply factors (a collection of factors which affect natural changes in the labour force, labour force participation, migration and commuting), labour demand factors and wage-setting factors, it is the empirical studies that gain a more profound understanding of the explanatory variables involved. Conversely, whereas most empirical studies provide clear-cut explanations for the signs of the explanatory variables, it is theory that shows that some of these explanations might be out of proportion. By grouping many studies together, this paper shows that there are indeed clear-cut trends.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa00p60.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa00p60
Contact details of provider: Postal: Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  2. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  3. C Bean, 1992. "European Unemployment: A Survey," CEP Discussion Papers dp0071, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Jaakko Pehkonen & Hannu Tervo, 1998. "Persistence and Turnover in Regional Unemployment Disparities," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(5), pages 445-458.
  5. Pissarides, Christopher A & McMaster, Ian, 1990. "Regional Migration, Wages and Unemployment: Empirical Evidence and Implications for Policy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(4), pages 812-31, October.
  6. Bentolila, Samuel, 1997. "Sticky labor in Spanish regions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 591-598, April.
  7. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  8. Durlauf, Steven N. & Quah, Danny T., 1999. "The new empirics of economic growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 235-308 Elsevier.
  9. Mizon, Grayham E., 1995. "A simple message for autocorrelation correctors: Don't," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 267-288, September.
  10. I R Gordon, 1985. "Distributed Lags in Local Responses to Fluctuations in Unemployment," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 17(6), pages 845-856, June.
  11. Ron Martin, 1997. "Regional Unemployment Disparities and their Dynamics," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 237-252.
  12. Mark Partridge & Dan Rickman, 1997. "The Dispersion of US State Unemployment Rates: The Role of Market and Non-market Equilibrium Factors," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 593-606.
  13. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Why is the Unemployment Rate So Very High near Full Employment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 339-396.
  14. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
  15. Burridge, Peter & Gordon, Ian Richard, 1981. "Unemployment in the British Metropolitan Labour Areas," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 274-97, July.
  16. David Card, 1995. "The Wage Curve: A Review," Working Papers 722, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  17. Michelle Baddeley & Ron Martin & Peter Tyler, 1998. "Transitory shock or structural shift? The impact of the early 1980s recession on British regional unemployment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 19-30.
  18. Harry J. Holzer, 1989. "Employment, Unemployment and Demand Shifts in Local Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 2858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Adams, James D, 1985. "Permanent Differences in Unemployment and Permanent Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 29-56, February.
  20. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521445337 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Hughes, Gordon & McCormick, Barry & McCormick, Barry, 1987. "Housing markets, unemployment and labour market flexibility in the UK," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 615-641, April.
  22. Simon, Curtis J, 1988. "Frictional Unemployment and the Role of Industrial Diversity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 715-28, November.
  23. A. P. Thirlwall, 1966. "Regional Unemployment As A Cyclical Phenomenon1," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 13(2), pages 205-219, 06.
  24. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-93, August.
  25. Neumann, George R & Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Employment Risk, Diversification, and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1341-65, November.
  26. I R Gordon & D Lamont, 1982. "A Model of Labour-Market Interdependencies in the London Region," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 14(2), pages 237-264, February.
  27. Todaro, Michael P., 1976. "Urban job expansion, induced migration and rising unemployment : A formulation and simplified empirical test for LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 211-225, September.
  28. J P Elhorst, 1998. "The Nonutilisation of Human Capital in Regional Labour Markets across Europe," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 30(5), pages 901-920, May.
  29. Marston, Stephen T, 1985. "Two Views of the Geographic Distribution of Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 57-79, February.
  30. J. Taylor, . "Regional Problems and Policies: An Overview," Working Papers ec27/90, Department of Economics, University of Lancaster.
  31. Abraham, Katharine G. & Katz, Lawrence F., 1986. "Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?," Scholarly Articles 3442781, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  32. Molho, Ian, 1995. "Migrant Inertia, Accessibility and Local Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 123-32, February.
  33. Evans, Philip & McCormick, Barry, 1994. "The New Pattern of Regional Unemployment: Causes and Policy Significance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 633-47, May.
  34. Olsen, Randall J, 1994. "Fertility and the Size of the U.S. Labor Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 60-100, March.
  35. Ghatak, Subrata & Levine, Paul & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 1996. " Migration Theories and Evidence: An Assessment," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 159-98, June.
  36. Fleisher, Belton M & Rhodes, George, 1976. "Unemployment and the Labor Force Participation of Married Men and Women: A Simultaneous Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(4), pages 398-406, November.
  37. Prachowny, Martin F J, 1993. "Okun's Law: Theoretical Foundations and Revised Estimates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 331-36, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa00p60. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.