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Regional Unemployment and Productivity in Europe and the US


  • Roberto Basile


  • Luca De Benedictis



The existence and persistence of large spatial disparities in un-employment within national economies is a central issue in regional economics. Previous empirical analyses have largely disregarded the role of fundamentals. On the contrary in this paper we explore the link between labour productivity, international trade and regional un-employment differentials. We base our empirical analysis on the predictions of a simple General Oligopolistic Equilibrium effciency-wage trade model. Using semi parametric regression methods, controlling for industry-mix and labour force participation, we give evidence of a non linear negative relationship between labour productivity and regional unemployment, in the cases of European regions. Instead, no significant relationships between these variables have been found for the United States. Keywords: Productivity, Regional Unemployment, Oligopoly, Non parametrics. JEL Classification: C14, D50, F12, F16, J41, L13, R10.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Basile & Luca De Benedictis, 2004. "Regional Unemployment and Productivity in Europe and the US," ERSA conference papers ersa04p38, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p38

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. J. Peter Neary, 2003. "Competitive versus Comparative Advantage," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 457-470, April.
    2. Decressin, Jorg & Fatas, Antonio, 1995. "Regional labor market dynamics in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1627-1655, December.
    3. Hoon, Hian Teck, 2001. "Adjustment of wages and equilibrium unemployment in a Ricardian global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 193-209, June.
    4. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
    5. Ron Martin, 1997. "Regional Unemployment Disparities and their Dynamics," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 237-252.
    6. Niebuhr, Annekatrin, 2002. "Spatial dependence of regional unemployment in the European Union," HWWA Discussion Papers 186, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    7. 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.
    8. Diego Puga, 2002. "European regional policies in light of recent location theories," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 373-406, October.
    9. Taylor, Jim & Bradley, Steve, 1997. "Unemployment in Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Regional Disparities in Germany, Italy and the UK," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 221-245.
    10. Basile, Roberto & Padoa Schioppa, Fiorella Kostoris, 2002. "Unemployment Dynamics of the 'Mezzogiornos of Europe': Lessons for the Mezzogiorno of Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Bean, Charles R, 1994. "European Unemployment: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 573-619, June.
    12. Lucio R. Pench & Paolo Sestito & Elisabetta Frontini, 1999. "Some unpleasant arithmetics of regional unemployment in the EU. Are there any lessons for EMU?," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 134, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    13. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    14. Roberto Basile & Sergio De Nardis & Alessandro Girardi, 2003. "Dinamiche di sviluppo nel centro e nella periferia d'Europa: il ruolo delle politiche strutturali," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 93(4), pages 89-134, July-Augu.
    15. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Lawrence F. Katz & Olivier Blanchard, 1999. "Wage Dynamics: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 69-74, May.
    17. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas B. King, 2005. "Labor productivity and job-market flows: trends, cycles, and correlations," Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers 2005-04, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Sarantis LOLOS & Evangelia PAPAPETROU, 2012. "Unemployment disparities and persistence Assessing the evidence from Greek regions, 1981-2008," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 12(1), pages 69-90.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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