OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Unemployment Persistence and Insider-Outsider Forces in Wage Determination

The rise in European unemployment has inspired much new research on the causes and mechanisms of unemployment, analogous to the interest devoted to unemployment in the 1930s. The new research has to a large extent focused on wage-setting behaviour, as is revealed by the rapid growth of theoretical and empirical work on models of wage bargaining, insider-outsider relationships, and efficiency wages. A common theme in this new work is a desire to provide satisfactory microeconomic foundations for the existence and persistence of involuntary unemployment.

This paper offers a survey of recent research on unemployment persistence and insider-outsider forces in wage determination. It begins in Section II with an overview of major themes in the theoretical work on unemployment. Section III reviews results from a number of recent empirical studies inspired by these new theories. Section IV concludes with a discussion of directions for future research ...


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