Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 11 No. 3 (Summer 1997)


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Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America

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Nickell, Stephen. 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(3): 55-74.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.3.55


The received wisdom tells us that the rigidity and inflexibility of European job markets relative to that in the United States is the reason why Europe has high unemployment. This paper argues that this broad brush analysis is simply too vague to be useful. Indeed it is probably positively misleading. Many labor market institutions that conventionally come under the heading of rigidities have no observable impact on unemployment and may otherwise serve a useful purpose.

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Nickell, Stephen (U Oxford)

JEL Classifications

E24: Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital
J21: Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
J64: Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search


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