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American Economic Review: Vol. 101 No. 3 (May 2011)

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Origins of the Unemployment Rate: The Lasting Legacy of Measurement without Theory

Article Citation

Card, David. 2011. "Origins of the Unemployment Rate: The Lasting Legacy of Measurement without Theory." American Economic Review, 101(3): 552-57.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.101.3.552

Abstract

The modern definition of unemployment emerged in the late 1930s from research conducted at the Works Progress Administration and the Census Bureau. According to this definition, people who are not working but actively searching for work are counted as unemployed. This concept was first used in the Enumerative Check Census, a follow-up sample for the 1937 Census of Unemployment, and continued with the Monthly Report on the Labor Force survey, begun in December 1939 by the Works Progress Administration. A similar definition is now used to measure unemployment around the world.

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Authors

Card, David (U CA, Berkeley)

JEL Classifications

C82: Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
E24: Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital
N33: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913


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