Date of Award

8-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

Committee Member

Dr. Paul W. Wilson, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Babur De los Santos, Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Scott Baier

Committee Member

Dr. Chungsang Lam

Abstract

Unemployment duration is critical when evaluating economic policies. In my dissertation, I examine: i) the gender differences in unemployment duration, ii) the effects of housing tenure on unemployment duration, and iii) the differences in determinants of unemployment between East and West Germans. Despite the evidence of gender differences in duration of unemployment, its determinants remain not well understood. This paper aims to address the gap in the literature on determinants of unemployment by studying the differences in unemployment duration between genders and within-gender groups of East and West Germans. I construct unemployment spells from the German Socio-Economic Panel for 1990-2011 to shed more light on the differentials and their association with a partner and children. A simple comparison of median durations and survival functions shows that women's unemployment spells are twice as long as men's, and that these differences nearly triple during the child-bearing and -rearing ages, regardless of location. I find that the differences in unemployment duration between genders are associated with the presence of young children and a partner. Women's unemployment hazard rates are between 40 and 80 percentage points lower in the presence of children aged 0-4 than comparable men's hazard rates. In addition, West German men and women have hazard rates 20 and 25 percentage points lower than comparable East Germans, even after controlling for non-labor income. I find that the differential in unemployment duration between Eastern and Western females is associated with the differential effect of young children and a partner. These findings are robust after accounting for unobserved heterogeneity. Homeownership is associated with positive outcomes such as urban sprawl, enacting zoning laws, and lowering crime rates, but there is also evidence of homeownership reducing labor mobility. This paper examines the effects of homeownership on unemployment lengths in Germany. I use unemployment spells from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the period 1990-2011 to estimate the effect of homeownership on unemployment length while controlling for possible self-selection into homeownership. The data suggests that homeowners experience two months shorter duration of unemployment which translates to a 13 percent higher rate of exits from unemployment after controlling for observables. However, after controlling for self-selection into homeownership, I find that homeownership significantly decreases the exit rate out of unemployment by 56 percent compared to renters. Since the unification of East and West Germany, East Germany underwent economic and institutional transitions which were followed by soaring and persistent unemployment. Previous literature shows that there are tenacious differences between East and West Germans in unemployment duration and its determinants during first nine years after unification. In this paper, I use the data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to shed light on the differences in duration of unemployment and its determinants for 1990-2012 period. My findings show that there are differences between East and West Germans in unemployment duration and its determinants, in particular, education and age, during the early periods of transition. Easterners have shorter spells of unemployment, and the difference is especially large during longer spells. However, I find that these differences disappear over time. In addition, I find evidence of an emergence of the educational differential between East and West Germans with a higher levels of education shortening East German unemployment duration more than West German unemployment durations.

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