Definitions, types, and theories
"Driver looking for work" Unemployed German laborer in 1949
Economists distinguish between various overlapping types of and theories of unemployment, including cyclical or Keynesian unemployment, frictional unemployment, structural unemployment and classical unemployment. Some additional types of unemployment that are occasionally mentioned are seasonal unemployment, hardcore unemployment, and hidden unemployment. The U.S. BLS measures six types of unemployment, U1–U6. Though there have been several definitions of "voluntary" and "involuntary unemployment" in the economics literature, a simple distinction is often applied. Voluntary unemployment is attributed to the individual's decisions, whereas involuntary unemployment exists because of the socio-economic environment (including the market structure, government intervention, and the level of aggregate demand) in which individuals operate. In these terms, much or most offrictional unemployment is voluntary, since it reflects individual search behavior. Voluntary unemployment includes workers who reject low wage jobs whereas involuntary unemployment includes workers fired due to an economic crisis, industrial decline, company bankruptcy, or organizational restructuring. On the other hand, cyclical unemployment, structural unemployment, and classical unemployment are largely involuntary in nature. However, the existence of structural unemployment may reflect choices made by the unemployed in the past, while classical (natural) unemployment may result from the legislative and economic choices made by labour unions or political parties. So, in practice, the distinction between voluntary and involuntary unemployment is hard to draw. The clearest cases of involuntary unemployment are those where there are fewer job vacancies than unemployed workers even when wages are allowed to adjust, so that even if all vacancies were to be filled, some unemployed workers would still remain. This happens with cyclical unemployment, as macroeconomic forces cause microeconomic unemployment which can boomerang back and exacerbate these macroeconomic forces. Classical unemployment
Graph of Labor Market
Classical or real-wage unemployment occurs when real wages for a job are set above the market-clearing level, causing the number of job-seekers to exceed the number of vacancies. Many economists have argued that unemployment increases the more the government intervenes into the economy to try to improve the conditions of those without jobs. For example, minimum wage laws raise the cost of laborers with few skills to above the market equilibrium, resulting in people who wish to work at the going rate but cannot as wage enforced is greater than their value as workers becoming unemployed. Laws restricting layoffs made businesses less likely to hire in the first place, as hiring becomes more risky, leaving many young people unemployed and unable to find work. However, this argument is criticized for ignoring numerous external factors and overly simplifying the relationship between wage rates and unemployment – in other words, that other factors may also affect unemployment. Some, such as Murray Rothbard, suggest that even social taboos can prevent wages from falling to the market-clearing level. In Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in the Twentieth-Century America, economists Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway argue that the empirical record of wages rates, productivity, and unemployment in American validates the classical unemployment theory. Their data shows a strong correlation between the adjusted real wage and unemployment in the United States from 1900 to 1990. However, they maintain that their data does not take into account exogenous events. Cyclical unemployment
The IS-LM Model is used to analyze the effect of demand shocks on the economy. Cyclical,...
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