This seminar will discuss the recent history of the rate of unemployment in New Zealand. The rate of unemployment in New Zealand increased by about 3 1/2 percentage points between late 2007 and late 2009, and then has remained relatively steady to early 2013. Compared to the most recent previous downturn in the late 1990s, this episode in the late 2000s has involved a larger increase in the rate of unemployment, and much smaller subsequent reduction. The seminar will argue that changes to the rate of New Zealand unemployment can be explained entirely by economic growth outcomes, and do not seem to reflect any structural change in the labour market. This suggests that there do not appear to be any impediments to the rate of unemployment to fall back to levels that existed in the mid-2000s. Of course, should the rate of unemployment remain at its current level for a prolonged period, hysteresis effects associated, for example with a growing incidence of long-term unemployment, may have some influence.
Jeff Borland is a Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne. He has a B.A. (Hons) in Economics and History from the University of Melbourne, and a Ph.D in Economics from Yale University. His main research interests are program and policy evaluation and design, applications of microeconomic theory, analysis of the operation of labour markets in Australia and Australian economic history. In 1997 he was awarded the Australian Academy of Social Sciences Medal for Excellence in Scholarship in the Social Sciences, and in 2002 was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. In 2007 he was awarded a Carrick Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. Jeff is on the Board of Editors of the Journal of Sports Economics, and between 1998 and mid-2002 was Co-Editor and Editor of the Economic Record.
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