German labour reforms: Unpopular success

Tom Krebs, Martin Scheffel 20 September 2013

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Just a few years ago, Germany was known as the sick man of Europe (Burda 2007). Starting from an average unemployment rate below 4% in the 1970s, Germany saw its rate increase to almost 9% in the period 1995-2005. As seen in Figure 1 the unemployment rate has a strong cyclical component but also a trend component that has been rising since the 1970s until the mid-2000s.

Figure 1. Quarterly unemployment rate, Germany 1970Q1-2012Q4

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Topics:  Labour markets Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  Germany, unemployment, reforms

The downsizing dilemmas of European employers

Hendrik P van Dalen, Kène Henkens 28 August 2013

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Drastic measures are taken when managers formulate strategies to survive economic crises. Among these are downsizing, outsourcing, firing workers and cutting back on wages. But how do firms balance their interests against those of their workers?

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  unemployment, Eurozone crisis, downsizing, hiring, firing

Accounting for the ethnic unemployment gap in France and the US

Laurent Gobillon, Peter Rupert, Étienne Wasmer 23 July 2013

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The unemployment rate in France is roughly six percentage points higher for African immigrants than for natives. In the US, the unemployment rate is approximately nine percentage points higher for black people than for white people. The gap between the minority (African immigrants or black people) and the majority (natives or white people) remains important even after controlling for individual attributes such as education, age or other demographic characteristics.

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Labour markets

Tags:  France, unemployment, race, ethnicity, commuting

High home ownership as a driver of high unemployment

Andrew J Oswald 18 June 2013

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Unemployment matters. It is a major source of unhappiness, mental ill-health, and lost income. Yet after a century of economic research the determinants of unemployment are still imperfectly understood, and jobless levels in the industrialised nations are currently around 10%, with some over 20%.

If you search for ‘unemployment’ in the Web of Science, within the Social Science Citation Index a list of around 21,000 articles appears. For economics journals alone, there are approximately 10,000. The most prominent among these are:

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  unemployment, home ownership

Job placement and displacement: Evidence from a randomised experiment

Bruno Crépon, Esther Duflo, Marc Gurgand, Roland Rathelot, Philippe Zamora 24 April 2013

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Youth unemployment is a growing concern in many countries, including France where more than a quarter of recent graduates cannot find stable work. Some of these young graduates do not benefit from resources like unemployment benefits because they lack a sufficient employment history.

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  unemployment, Eurozone crisis, youth unemployment, graduates

Budget balance, structural unemployment and fiscal adjustments: The Spanish case

Javier Andrés, Rafael Doménech 05 April 2013

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One of the most important questions in the current process of fiscal consolidation in many developed economies concerns the size and the pace of the adjustment. An excessive and/or too-fast fiscal retrenchment can have dramatic effects on unemployment and growth, while if it is too slow, it can prove to be ineffective and lack credibility in the eyes of the financial markets. Thus, when the debt-to-GDP ratio is high and there is limited fiscal space, the challenge is to find the proper balance between growth, efficiency and credibility of the fiscal adjustment.

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions

Tags:  unemployment, Spain, fiscal policy, Eurozone crisis, structural adjustment

European labour-market reform

John Driffill 08 March 2013

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Unemployment continues to rise in the Eurozone and is increasingly drawing attention to its sluggish labour markets. There is a lingering suspicion that these markets are not flexible enough; that wage growth (real and in money terms) does not respond sufficiently to unemployment. Labour-market reform has featured prominently in the bailout agreements reached between the Troika and Greece, Portugal, and Ireland. Reform is surely a good thing. But what is it meant to achieve? What should and can be done? Is the time now ripe for reform?

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Labour markets

Tags:  Europe, unemployment, EU

Jobs and growth are still linked (that is, Okun’s Law still holds)

Laurence Ball, Daniel Leigh, Prakash Loungani 26 January 2013

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Unemployment rates remain high in most advanced countries. Many scholars have drawn attention to an apparent decoupling of unemployment increases from output declines during the Great Recession (e.g. IMF 2010, Cazes et al. 2011).

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Topics:  Global crisis Labour markets

Tags:  unemployment, jobless recovery, Okun, output

It’s not a skill mismatch: Disaggregate evidence on the US unemployment-vacancy relationship

Rand Ghayad, William Dickens 05 January 2013

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The Beveridge curve – the empirical relationship between unemployment and vacancies – is thought to be an indicator of the efficiency of the functioning of the labour market. Normally when vacancies rise, unemployment falls following a curved path that typically remains stable over long periods of time.

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  US, unemployment, skills, welfare

Jobs: The next piece of Africa’s growth jigsaw

David Fine, Susan Lund 04 December 2012

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Africa’s recent economic performance has been impressive. With average annual growth of 5.1% over the past ten years, the continent is the second fastest-growing region in the world (IMF 2012). The share of people in extreme poverty is falling. Since 2000, 31 million African households have joined a 90 million-strong consuming class with discretionary income to spend or save1.

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Topics:  Development Labour markets

Tags:  employment, unemployment, Africa, labour

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