One method for combating unemployment during the global crisis has been the use of short-time work schemes that allow employers to temporarily reduce hours worked while compensating workers for the induced loss of income. In the first of two columns on labour markets, the authors present new evidence establishing that these schemes do indeed reduce unemployment. But they are no panacea and are not without their own problems.
Pierre Cahuc, Stéphane Carcillo, 01 February 2011
Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, Greg Wright, 18 November 2010
Manufacturing production and employment in the US has been in decline over recent decades, often with the finger pointed at immigration and globalisation. This column presents evidence from the US between 2000 and 2007 to show that immigrant and native workers are more likely to compete against offshoring than against each other. Moreover, offshoring's productivity gains can spur greater demand for native workers.
Andreas Knabe, Ronnie Schöb, Joachim Weimann, 17 November 2010
“We were happy in those days… Because we were poor”, goes the old Monty Python sketch. This column suggests there might be some shred of truth in this joke. It finds that while unemployed people report being less satisfied with their life in general, their emotional wellbeing experienced during day-to-day activities does not seem to suffer at all.
Roger Farmer, 08 November 2010
CEPR Discussion Paper 8100 re-examines the ability of old-Keynesian and new-Keynesian models to cope with persistence of unemployment. The author argues the an import input of persistent unemployment is the "animal spirits" of the unemployed. He tests an old-Keynesian model in which the Phillips curve is replaced by a belief function and finds it a better fit for the data than new-Keynesian variants.
Elisa Gamberoni, Erik von Uexkull, Sebastian Weber, 29 September 2010
How do trade and labour market institutions affect employment during a crisis? This column finds that trade openness leads to sharper drops in employment, but also faster recoveries. High severance pay dampens employment contraction and very high unemployment benefits are associated with a stronger contraction. These findings suggest that global employment is set to remain stagnant for 2010 before recovering in 2011.
Matthew Kahn, Matthew Kotchen, 21 August 2010
Is concern for the environment a luxury good? This column presents data from Google searches for the words “unemployment” and “global warming” by US users. It argues that recessions increase concerns about unemployment at the expense of people’s interest in climate change – in some cases leading them to deny its existence.
Jan van Ours, Bas van der Klaauw, 19 August 2010
Rising unemployment has forced policymakers to look for ways to get the unemployed back to work – to raise the “reemployment” rate of the unemployed. This column provides new evidence from the Netherlands suggesting that the stick of benefit sanctions is much more effective than the carrot of reemployment bonuses.
Otaviano Canuto, José Manuel Salazar, 28 June 2010
Economic integration transmitted the negative shocks of the crisis to workers across the world. As the global economic recovery begins, this column says that there is no cause for complacency or celebration. It warns that unemployment rates are expected to remain high in many countries and recommends designing government policies so that more may share in the gains from globalisation.
Hans Genberg, Wenlang Zhang, 25 April 2010
Would an increase in Chinese domestic demand meaningfully reduce global imbalances and improve US and European employment prospects? This column says that Chinese policy has a relatively small impact on developed economies' macroeconomic circumstances. It estimates that major reduction in Chinese saving would improve US employment by less than one quarter of a percentage point.
Roger Farmer, 06 January 2010
Most policymakers subscribe to the existence of a natural rate of unemployment. This column provides a visual history of unemployment, vacancies, and inflation in the US and says there is no natural rate. It suggests the economy can rest in any equilibrium on the Beveridge curve, as decided by the confidence of households and firms that pins down asset values.
Francesco D'Amuri, Juri Marcucci, 16 December 2009
The demand for up-to-date economic indicators has led researchers to use Google to improve the predictive power of their models. This column presents evidence from the US and Italy that using search trends on Google significantly increases the accuracy of forecasting unemployment.
Sascha Becker, Karolina Ekholm, Marc Muendler, 09 November 2009
How do offshoring firms reshape their domestic workforce? This column, using evidence from German multinationals, shows a positive correlation between offshoring and the firm’s proportion of highly educated workers. Offshoring firms have relatively more domestic jobs involving non-routine and interactive tasks. But offshoring is far from the only explanation for the shift towards more educated employees carrying out more advanced tasks.
Christoph Moser, Dieter Urban, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, 31 October 2009
Do offshoring firms reduce their domestic employment? This column examines plant-level evidence from Germany, using difference-in-differences matching techniques. It says that the positive productivity effect of offshoring dominates possible downsizing effects, raising domestic employment at the establishment.
Phillip Levine, Courtney Coile, 31 October 2009
Since the crisis began, the economy has shed millions of jobs. This column explains how stock, housing, and labour market fluctuations affect retirement decisions. While wealthier workers will delay retirement, a larger number of workers will be forced into retirement because of their inability to find new jobs. This increased involuntary retirement will likely exceed any work-seeking effect of diminished stock market wealth by 50%.
Tito Boeri, 23 June 2009
Public opinion is turning against migration during the recession, as generous European welfare states make migrants a potential fiscal burden. This column warns against the excessively exclusionary solutions to which voters are turning and suggests decoupling migration and the welfare state.
Giuseppe Bertola, 26 May 2009
In Europe, unemployment is increasing more rapidly than in earlier comparable crises. This column attributes that to the severity of the recession and the flexibility-oriented reforms that only recently brought European unemployment down. But that does not mean that the answer is re-regulation of labour markets.
Mike Elsby, Bart Hobijn, Aysegul Sahin, 14 February 2009
Unemployment is rising – job losses are up 30% in the US and 50% in the UK since 2007. How bad will it get? This column uses data on unemployment inflows and duration to predict labour market trends. A conservative estimate says that unemployment will reach at least 5% in Britain and 13.5% in Spain.
Roger Farmer, 04 February 2009
This column proposes a new paradigm to reconcile Keynesian economics with general equilibrium theory. It suggests that, just as it sets the fed funds rate to control inflation, the Fed should set a stock market index to control unemployment. This would not let every manufacturing firm and every bank fail at the same time “as a result of speculative movements in markets that serve no social purpose.”
Marcus Noland, Howard Pack, 01 August 2008
Arab countries face major unemployment problems that must be addressed. This column outlines the challenge and potential means of making progress.
Kent Matthews, Patrick Minford, Ruthira Naraidoo, 09 July 2008
Unemployment follows the business cycle but the average rate also seems to fluctuate over decades. Here Patrick Minford and coauthors propose a political economy explanation and back it up with evidence from the inter-war period.