High and persistent unemployment has been experienced by most developed countries during the 1980s, and inflationary pressures have recently emerged at rates of unemployment far higher than those experienced in the 1960s and 1970s. This suggests that there has been an increase in the natural rate of unemployment. Many researchers have sought to explain this development in terms of 'mismatch', arguing that the economies that have suffered most from persistently high unemployment are those that have been least flexible in matching their unemployed with the available employment opportunities. This book reports the proceedings of a conference on 'Mismatch and labour mobility', sponsored jointly by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, the Centre for Economic Performance (formerly the Centre for Labour Economics) at the London School of Economics, and the Centro Interuniversitario di Studi Teorici per la Politica Economica (STEP).
The contributors to this volume examine the evidence on sectoral wage differentials, labour mobility and the ratio of unemployment to job vacancies in detailed studies of seven countries with a wide variety of labour market and macroeconomic structures: the United States and Japan, three North European economies (West Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), and two in Southern Europe (Italy and Spain). They analyse the variations in unemployment rates across regions, occupations, and demographic groups, and investigate whether these help to explain the growth and persistence of unemployment. The volume also includes a cross-country study of skills mismatch in relation to the effectiveness of training programmes.