How do we solve worryingly high unemployment across Europe? In a time of crisis, would reform actually exacerbate unemployment? This column argues that labour markets – especially in southern Europe – have to be reformed, presenting policy prescriptions to that effect. If we are to break the back of sluggish labour markets, policymakers need to learn from Europe’s success stories.
John Driffill, 08 March 2013
Laurence Ball, Daniel Leigh, Prakash Loungani, 26 January 2013
Will recovery be jobless? A broad array of analysts, from Vox columnists to McKinsey, are arguing that Okun’s Law is broken. This column presents new research suggesting that, in fact, Okun is alive and well. When output recovers, the jobs will come back, although employment will differ across countries. There may be good reasons for the structural reforms that many propose as a way to boost job creation, but undertaking them in the belief that Okun’s Law has broken down should not be one of them.
Rand Ghayad, William Dickens, 05 January 2013
US unemployment seems stuck at an unusually high level of 8%, prompting some to suggest a widespread skills mismatch. This column argues that a skills mismatch is not supported by the evidence. Rather, out of the possible explanations, it seems that any shift in the ratio between unemployment and vacancies is driven by either lower search efforts by the long-term unemployed or by a reduction in their employability.
David Fine, Susan Lund, 04 December 2012
Africa's recent growth is impressive, yet its rate of stable job creation is anything but. This column argues that Africa needs rapid growth in stable, wage-paying jobs in order to ensure future stable growth and prosperity. African governments must develop and implement targeted jobs strategies – which focus on labour-intensive, competitive industries – to get the most out Africa’s rapid economic emergence.
Henry Siu, Nir Jaimovich, 06 November 2012
The US economy is recovering. But what explains the stubborn malaise in its labour market? This column argues that future recovery from recession will likely be jobless because technological advances and mechanisation now enable troubled firms to shed middle-income jobs in favour of machines and automation. If these jobs are not recouped during subsequent economic recovery, future recoveries may well remain jobless.
Elke Jahn, Regina T. Riphahn, Claus Schnabel, 10 October 2012
Economic policymakers across Europe have sought to increase labour market flexibility by promoting the use of temporary employment. This column points to a possible trade-off between efficiency and equity when deregulating labour markets, suggesting that flexible forms of employment can be both a boon and a bane for labour markets and for society as a whole.
Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, Martín Uribe, 16 September 2012
Since the onset of the great recession in peripheral Europe, nominal hourly wages have not fallen much from the high levels they had reached during the boom years in spite of widespread increases in unemployment. This paper analyses a number of national and supranational policy options for alleviating the unemployment problem, arguing that it is unlikely that a solution will come from within national borders.
Matthew O. Jackson, Yves Zenou, 09 September 2012
This paper provides an overview and synthesis of the literatures analysing games where players are connected via a network structure. While it focuses on the game theoretic modeling, it also also include some discussion of analyses of peer effects, as well as applications to diffusion, employment, crime, industrial organisation, and education.
Hermann Gartner, Christian Merkl, Thomas Rothe, 08 August 2012
The upside to a rigid labour market, so the argument goes, is that the downside isn’t so bad. This column compares evidence from the job markets in Germany and the US. It argues that Germany is actually far more volatile.
Alan Manning, Barbara Petrongolo, 03 August 2012
Will the London Olympics provide a major boost for employment in Stratford, as promised? This column presents evidence from a study in the UK, which, if applied to the Olympics, suggests that we shouldn’t count on it – many of the jobs will go to other Londoners.
Guillermo Calvo, Fabrizio Coricelli, Pablo Ottonello, 24 July 2012
Economic output in the US seems to have recovered since the Great Recession – but jobs have not. This ‘jobless recovery’ has led economists to argue that unemployment has reached a point where it can fall no further without further inflation. This column disagrees, suggesting the nature of the crisis affects the nature of the recovery.
Glenda Quintini, 15 May 2012
Recent sizeable increases in youth unemployment are compromising the school-to-work transition of recent school graduates. This column uses optimal matching, a method borrowed from molecular biology, to study the transitions from school to work in Europe and the US. It argues the share of youth facing serious difficulties on the labour market is 18 percentage points smaller in the US than in Europe. In Europe, 30% of youth face difficulties settling into the labour market and another 15% are trapped in long-term unemployment or inactivity.
Clemens Hetschko, Andreas Knabe, Ronnie Schöb, 04 May 2012
Most people’s wellbeing is permanently affected by unemployment. This column argues that the unhappiness is due to a loss of identity, rather than daily experiences. Using German data, it shows that the long-term unemployed become happier upon entering retirement, thus changing social category, even though this does not change their daily lives.
Alessandro Turrini, 25 April 2012
Most EU countries have embarked on a path of fiscal austerity. Would the employment impact of fiscal consolidation be more harmful if reforms liberalising the labour market were taken at the same time? This column argues that fiscal consolidations increase unemployment more in regulated labour markets because employment protection is associated with a stronger reduction in job creation.
Jan van Ours, Anne Gielen, 13 February 2012
Much research has documented that unemployment makes people unhappy. But does unhappiness spur the unemployed to look harder for jobs? And if so, why do governments need to help them find work with active labour market policies? CEPR DP8842 finds that the unhappiest of the unemployed do search harder for jobs, but don’t find them faster – suggesting that even the most motivated jobseekers could benefit from activation policies.
Samuel Bentolila, Juan J. Dolado, Juan Francisco Jimeno , 20 January 2012
Spain has a lower public debt-to-GDP ratio than not only Italy, but also France, Germany, and the UK. So why is it threatened with another downgrade? This column points to the fundamental problem with Spain’s economy – the insider-outsider divide that has led to the highest unemployment rate in the Eurozone. It proposes a single open-ended contract for all workers – a difficult solution whose time has come.
Michael Burda, Jennifer Hunt, 02 November 2011
Jobs and the lack of them are top of the agenda for policymakers and increasingly groups of protestors gathered in the financial districts of New York, London, and elsewhere. Unemployment in these countries is in danger of reaching 10%. In Germany, however, unemployment is below 7%. Some hail it as a miracle. This column finds a scientific – and far less inspiring – explanation.
Tommaso Monacelli, Vincenzo Quadrini, Antonella Trigari, 18 October 2011
Three years after the beginning of the Great Recession, the US unemployment rate remains at 9%, double its pre-crisis level. This column suggests the credit crunch may be behind this high number. It argues this is not because lower debt impairs the hiring ability of firms, but because it places firms in a less favourable bargaining position, allowing workers to negotiate higher wages, and thus reducing employment.
Roger E. A. Farmer , 18 August 2011
One explanation for the 2007-09 global crisis is that consumers, markets, and politicians were gripped by “irrational exuberance” that led them to believe the record-high house prices and stock prices were sustainable. This column proposes a new explanation based on rational behaviour and microeconomic theory. It argues that however high stock prices rise, there is always an equilibrium in which they can rise further.
Erik Hurst, Loukas Karabarbounis, Mark Aguiar, 17 August 2011
When jobs are scarce, what else is there to do? This column looks at data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and finds that roughly 30% to 40% of time not spent working is put towards increased “home” production, 30% of time is allocated to increased sleep time and increased television watching, while other leisure activities make up a further 20% of the foregone market work hours.