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Nation size and unemployment

Author

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  • Berthold, Norbert
  • Gründler, Klaus

Abstract

Throughout the world, strong dispersions of both regional and national unemployment rates can be observed. The economic theory has developed various explanations on how this differences occur. Corresponding models mainly aim at institutional and political framework, insider effects, efficiency wages, collective bargaining and cyclical effects. However, the size of economies has received little attention in this discussion. In this paper, we will show that there is indeed a strong link between size and unemployment. Using data from 37 countries, 15 continents and trade areas as well as 496 federal states, we will demonstrate that larger economic regions tend to have higher unemployment rates. Subsequently, we show that this correlation is strongly determined by the degree of centralization of countries. Based on these findings, we develop a model that explains regional and national unemployment using size and centralization. We will point out that centralization parabolas can be derived for each country. These curves are strongly influenced by the size of economies in a way that different sizes lead to a shift of the parabolas. As we will demonstrate, country-specific parabolas explain the strong dispersion of unemployment rates quite accurately.

Suggested Citation

  • Berthold, Norbert & Gründler, Klaus, 2011. "Nation size and unemployment," Discussion Paper Series 116, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wuewwb:116
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Haltiwanger, John C. & Scarpetta, Stefano & Schweiger, Helena, 2006. "Assessing Job Flows across Countries: The Role of Industry, Firm Size and Regulations," IZA Discussion Papers 2450, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Lorenzo Forni, 2004. "Centralization of wage bargaining and the unemployment rate: revisiting the hump-shape hypothesis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 492, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 1-33, March.
    4. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2000. "Institutions, Restructuring, and Macroeconomic Performance," NBER Working Papers 7720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Franz Traxler, 2003. "Bargaining (De)centralization, Macroeconomic Performance and Control over the Employment Relationship," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(1), pages 1-27, March.
    6. Assar Lindbeck, 1993. "Unemployment and Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121751, January.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Country size and the unemployment rate
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-02-24 21:16:00

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment; size; centralization;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General
    • F00 - International Economics - - General - - - General

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