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Thresholds for Employment and Unemployment - a Spatial Analysis of German Regional Labour Markets 1992-2000

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  • Reinhold Kosfeld

    ()

  • Christian Dreger

    ()

Abstract

Changes in production and employment are closely related over the course of the business cycle. However, as exemplified by the laws of Verdoorn (1949, 1993) and Okun (1962, 1970), thresholds seem to be present in the relationship. Due to capacity reserves of the firms, output growth must exceed certain levels for the creation of new jobs or a fall in the unemployment rate. While Verdoorn's law focuses on the growth rate of output sufficient for an increase in employment, in Okun's law, the fall in the unemployment rate becomes the focus of attention. In order to assess the future development of employment and unemployment, these thresholds have to be taken into account. They serve as important guidelines for policymakers. In contrast to previous studies, we present joint estimates for both the employment and unemployment threshold. Due to demographic patterns and institutional settings on the labour market, the two thresholds can differ, implying that minimum output growth needed for a rise in employment may not be sufficient for a simultaneous drop in the unemployment rate. Second, regional information is considered to a large extent. In particular, the analysis is carried out using a sample of 180 German regional labour markets, see Eckey (2001). Since the cross-sections are separated by the flows of job commuters, they correspond to travel-to-work areas. Labour mobility is high within a market, but low among the entities. As the sectoral decomposition of economic activities varies across the regions, the thresholds are founded on a heterogeneous experience, leading to more reliable estimates.The contribution to the literature is twofold. First, to the best of our knowledge, no previous paper has investigated a similar broad regional dataset for the German economy as a whole before. By using a panel dataset, information on the regional distributions around the regression lines as well as theirs positional changes is provided for each year. Second, the methods applied are of new type. They involve a mixture of pooled and spatial econometric techniques. Dependencies across the regions may result from common or idiosyncratic (region specific) shocks. In particular, the eigenfunction decomposition approach suggested by Griffith (1996, 2000) is used to identify spatial and non-spatial components in regression analysis. As the spatial pattern may vary over time, inference is conducted on the base of a spatial SUR model. Due to this setting, efficient estimates of the thresholds are obtained. With the aid of a geographic information system (GIS) variation of the spatial components can be made transparent. With Verdoorn’s and Okun’s law the figures show some significant patterns become obvious over time. In respect to Verdoorn’s law, for instance, a stripe of high values in the north-western part from Schleswig-Holstein via Lower Saxony and North Rhine Westfalia to Rhineland Palatinate is striking in all years but 1994 and 1995. In most periods the spatial component is likewise concentrated in Saxony. Clusters of low values can be found in northern Bavaria and, in some periods, in Thüringen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Other parts of Germany appear to be more fragmented consisting of relative small clusters of low, medium and high values of the spatial component. With Okun’s law some changing spatial patterns arise. In all, spatially filtering provides valuable insights into the spatial dimensions of the laws of Verdoorn and Okun. Threshold employment and unemployment, regional labour markets, spatial filtering techniques, spatial SUR analysis

Suggested Citation

  • Reinhold Kosfeld & Christian Dreger, 2005. "Thresholds for Employment and Unemployment - a Spatial Analysis of German Regional Labour Markets 1992-2000," ERSA conference papers ersa05p39, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p39
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    1. 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 331-336, May.
    2. Moosa, Imad A., 1997. "A Cross-Country Comparison of Okun's Coefficient," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 335-356, June.
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    4. Lee, Jim, 2000. "The Robustness of Okun's Law: Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 331-356, April.
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    6. Attfield, Clifford L. F. & Silverstone, Brian, 1998. "Okun's Law, Cointegration and Gap Variables," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 625-637, July.
    7. Freeman, Donald G, 2001. "Panel Tests of Okun's Law for Ten Industrial Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 511-523, October.
    8. Rowthorn, R E, 1979. "A Note on Verdoorn's Law," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(353), pages 131-133, March.
    9. Bernard Fingleton, 2000. "Spatial econometrics, economic geography, dynamics and equilibrium: a 'third way'?," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(8), pages 1481-1498, August.
    10. Kaldor, Nicholas, 1975. "Economic Growth and the Verdoorn Law-A Comment on Mr. Rowthorn's Article," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 85(340), pages 891-896, December.
    11. M Tiefelsdorf & B Boots, 1995. "The Exact Distribution of Moran's I," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 27(6), pages 985-999, June.
    12. Bernard Fingleton, 2001. "Equilibrium and Economic Growth: Spatial Econometric Models and Simulations," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 117-147.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Patuelli & Norbert Schanne & Daniel A. Griffith & Peter Nijkamp, 2012. "Persistence Of Regional Unemployment: Application Of A Spatial Filtering Approach To Local Labor Markets In Germany," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 300-323, May.
    2. Martinho, Vítor João Pereira Domingues, 2011. "What the keynesian theory said about Portugal?," MPRA Paper 32610, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Amy Guisinger & Ruben Hernandez-Murillo & Michael Owyang & Tara Sinclair, 2015. "A State-Level Analysis of Okun's Law," Working Papers 2015-17, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    4. Nikolay Kaledin, 2013. "Societal geography and regionalization of society," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1334, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Eckey, Hans-Friedrich & Döring, Thomas & Türck, Matthias, 2006. "Convergence of regions from 23 EU member states," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 86, University of Kassel, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    6. Celia Melguizo, 2017. "An analysis of Okun’s law for the Spanish provinces," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 37(1), pages 59-90, February.
    7. Ulrich Zierahn, 2012. "The importance of spatial autocorrelation for regional employment growth in Germany," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 32(1), pages 19-43, March.
    8. Herwartz, Helmut & Niebuhr, Annekatrin, 2011. "Regional labor demand and national labor market institutions in the EU15," HWWI Research Papers 112, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    9. Phiri, Andrew, 2014. "Re-evaluating Okun's law in South Africa: A nonlinear co-integration approach," MPRA Paper 57398, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Roberto Patuelli & Daniel A. Griffith & Michael Tiefelsdorf & Peter Nijkamp, 2009. "Spatial Filtering and Eigenvector Stability: Space-Time Models for German Unemployment Data," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 0902, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    11. repec:eee:regeco:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:42-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:lrk:eeaart:35_2_6 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Hans-Friedrich Eckey & Reinhold Kosfeld & Matthias Türck, 2007. "Regionale Entwicklung mit und ohne räumliche Spillover-Effekte," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 27(1), pages 23-42, February.
    14. repec:eee:regeco:v:68:y:2018:i:c:p:239-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Marta Yánez Contreras & Marta Yánez Contreras, 2010. "El mercado laboral desde una perspectiva espacial," REVISTA APUNTES DEL CENES, UNIVERSIDAD PEDAGOGICA Y TECNOLOGICA DE COLOMBIA, September.

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