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Mr. Eswar S Prasad
This paper examines recent developments in the Canadian labor market. Using disaggregated labor market data, various hypotheses concerning the slow employment growth and rise in unemployment since 1990 are evaluated. The analysis indicates that a large part of the recent rise in the unemployment rate may reflect an increase in the structural rather than the cyclical component of unemployment. Various sources of labor market rigidities that may have contributed to the increase in structural unemployment are examined. In particular, the role of the unemployment insurance system in contributing to labor market rigidity and measures for reforming this system, including the recent proposals of the government, are discussed. Finally, this paper examines active labor market policies that could help to alleviate structural unemployment.
Mr. Alberto Behar
We estimate the elasticity of private-sector employment to non-oil GDP in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for GCC nationals and expatriates using a Seemingly Unrelated Error Correction (SUREC) model. Our results indicate that the employment response is lower for nationals, who have an estimated short-run elasticity of only 0.15 and a long-run response of 0.7 or less. The elasticity is almost unity for expatriates in the long run and 0.35 in the short run. We interpret low elasticities as indirect evidence of labor market adjustment costs, which could include hiring and firing rigidities, skills mismatches, and reluctance to accept private sector jobs. Forecasts suggest that, absent measures to reduce adjustment costs, the private sector will only be able to absorb a small portion of nationals entering the labor force.
Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
This paper analyzes the determinants of labor market performance in Algeria. When the model is estimated with panel data on a sample of MENA and transition countries for 1995- 2005, the results suggest that lower growth in labor productivity in Algeria is associated with higher unemployment than the sample average, though recent positive terms of trade shocks have helped Algeria reduce the differential. Labor market rigidities and labor taxation do not seem to explain why unemployment is higher in Algeria than in other countries. The results are robust to various panel econometric methods and instrumental variable estimates.
Man-Keung Tang
Advanced economies have been experiencing diverse developments in accumulation of financial liabilities by their household and corporate sectors since around 1995. Crosscountry- industry evidence indicates that the type of the financial system and the degree of labor market flexibility matter for the economic impact of expanded borrowings. Especially in countries with a more arm's length-based financial system and less rigid labor market, faster creation of corporate liabilities in recent years appears to have spurred growth of industries more reliant on external finance, and strengthened the development of growing industries. The findings suggest an association of recent increases in corporate borrowings with a reduction in costs of external finance and improvement in resource allocation-two supposed channels through which finance facilitates growth.
International Monetary Fund
The human cost of the recent global crisis is reflected in its impact on the labor market. Explaining why economies with similar downturns had very different employment trends can help design policies to reduce such costs and improve labor markets. This paper analyzes the recent employment experiences of six economies: Germany, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and Sweden. These economies represent a wide range of labor market institutions, policy responses, and outcomes to the crisis. The divergence of labor market outcomes and of the effectiveness of policies during the crisis can be explained by the interaction between the nature of the shocks and differences in the structure and institutions of each country’s economy. The worst job losses compared to the drop in output followed permanent shocks, particularly in dual labor markets and in the presence of wage rigidities. Policies to avoid job cuts were much more effective when they were well-targeted and responded to temporary shocks. In contrast, policies to facilitate labor movements were more appropriate following permanent shocks.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper discusses Ireland’s trade and financial linkages with key partner countries. The paper uses a vector autoregression to examine the impact of shocks to partner country GDP and shocks to Irish competitiveness on Irish GDP. Two main findings are that shocks to U.S. GDP have a much larger impact on the variance of Irish GDP than shocks to the euro area or the United Kingdom. The paper also uses the IMF’s Global Fiscal Model to compare the effects of alternative fiscal adjustment strategies on employment and growth.