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Increasing Returns and Spatial Unemployment Disparities

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  • Suedekum, Jens

Abstract

Regional unemployment rates in the European Union (EU-15) reveal a core-periphery structure. Large ?core? regions in the middle of the continent have low unemployment rates, whereas excessive mass unemployment is predominantly found in the peripheral regions at the outside borders of EU-15. This geographical pattern of unemployment rates follows the pattern of GDP per capita. That is, the regions with low (high) unemployment rates on average have comparatively high (low) real income levels. In this paper we try to understand this stylised fact with the help of a theoretical model that builds on two strings in the literature: the recent trade and location theories (like the ´new economic geography´) and the ´wage curve´. Standard models of the new location theories deal with regional disparities in production and income, but they usually assume full employment and are thus ill-equipped to study spatial unemployment disparities. The wage curve-approach, which explicitly shows how disparities in real wages and unemployment rates are interrelated, can not endogenously explain the origin of these asymmetries. In this paper, we combine these previously unrelated strings and develop a unified theoretical framework. We show that a core-periphery in real wages is associated and magnified by regional unemployment disparities. This wage curve relation is stable over time with an increasing returns technology. That is, the wage curve does not vanish as workers move from the periphery to the core, but it is rather reinforced by migration. These theoretical predictions of our model are in line with the empirical evidence.

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  • Suedekum, Jens, 2004. "Increasing Returns and Spatial Unemployment Disparities," HWWA Discussion Papers 256, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwadp:26358
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    1. Blien, Uwe & Sanner, Helge, 2006. "Structural change and regional employment dynamics," IAB Discussion Paper 200606, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    2. Jelena Sisinacki & Ivana Rasic & Valerija Botric, 2004. "Comparative analysis of regional unemployment and RGDP in Croatia and selected transition countries," ERSA conference papers ersa04p132, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Hartmut Egger & Peter Egger & James R. Markusen, 2012. "International Welfare And Employment Linkages Arising From Minimum Wages," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(3), pages 771-790, August.
    4. Wrede, Matthias, 2012. "Wages, rents, unemployment, and the quality of life," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 01/2012 [rev.], Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    5. Vesna Stavrevska, 2011. "The efficiency wages perspective to wage rigidity in the open economy: a survey," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 273-299, June.
    6. Blien, Uwe & Messmann, Susanne & Trappmann, Mark, 2012. "Do reservation wages react to regional unemployment?," IAB Discussion Paper 201222, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    7. Garcilazo, Jose Enrique & Spiezia, Vincenzo, 2007. "Regional Unemployment Clusters: Neighborhood and State Effects in Europe and North America," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 37(3), pages 282-302.
    8. Anna Maria Ferragina & Francesco Pastore, 2008. "Mind The Gap: Unemployment In The New Eu Regions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 73-113, February.
    9. Salvatore Barbaro & Jens Südekum, 2004. "Reforming a complicated income tax system: The political economics perspective," Departmental Discussion Papers 120, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    10. Petra Enß & Robert Schwager, 2006. "Kommunaler Finanzausgleich und Gewerbesteuerhebesätze in Niedersachsen," Departmental Discussion Papers 127, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    11. Ana María Díaz, 2016. "Spatial Unemployment Differentials in Colombia," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, vol. 76, February.
    12. Renate Ohr, 2009. "European Monetary Union at Ten: Had the German Maastricht Critics Been Wrong?," Departmental Discussion Papers 141, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    13. Heid, Benedikt & Larch, Mario, 2012. "Migration, trade and unemployment," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-40.
    14. vom Berge, Philipp, 2011. "Search Unemployment and New Economic Geography," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 454, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
    15. Kondo, Keisuke, 2015. "Spatial persistence of Japanese unemployment rates," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 113-122.
    16. Oliver Lerbs, 2011. "Is there a link between homeownership and unemployment? Evidence from German regional data," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 407-426, December.
    17. Joanna Tyrowicz & Piotr Wojcik, 2011. "Nonlinear Stochastic Convergence Analysis of Regional Unemployment Rates in Poland," Review of Economic Analysis, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, vol. 3(1), pages 59-79, July.
    18. Thies Büttner & Robert Schwager, 2003. "Regionale Verteilungseffekte der Hochschulfinanzierung und ihre Konsequenzen," Departmental Discussion Papers 119, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    19. Roberts, Mark & Deichmann, Uwe & Fingleton, Bernard & Shi, Tuo, 2012. "Evaluating China's road to prosperity: A new economic geography approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 580-594.
    20. Roberts, Mark & Deichmann, Uwe & Fingleton, Bernard & Shi, Tuo, 2010. "On the road to prosperity ? The economic geography of China's national expressway network," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5479, The World Bank.
    21. Karoly Fazekas & Jeno Koltay (ed.), 2004. "The Hungarian Labour Market 2004," The Hungarian Labour Market Yearbooks, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, number 2004, December.
    22. Cristina Lincaru & Vasilica Ciucã, 2011. "The Geographical Distribution Of Unemployment At Localities Desegregation Level.Case Study For South Muntenia Region - Romania," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 5(2), pages 76-91, DECEMBER.
    23. Sascha Wolff, 2006. "Migration und ihre Determinanten im ost-westdeutschen Kontext nach der Wiedervereinigung: Ein Literaturüberblick," Departmental Discussion Papers 130, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    24. Lerbs, Oliver, 2010. "Is there a link between home ownership and unemployment levels? Evidence from German regional data," CAWM Discussion Papers 34, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regional Unemployment; Economic Geography; Increasing Returns; Wage Curve; Migration; Labor Mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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