DP66 | The Analysis of Unemployment in Interwar Britain: A Survey of Research


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This paper gives an overview of quantitative work on the interwar labour market, a topic which has received growing attention in recent years. Much of this has been stimulated by the application of simple models to measure the impact of unemployment insurance on labour supply. A review of the evidence leads us to stress the importance of non-market clearing as the appropriate paradigm, which shifts the discussion to the determinants of labour demand and the appropriate methods of modelling it. The issue of wage determination is central to the debate and stress is placed on characterizing the institutional framework of wage setting. Finally, the issue of structural unemployment is addressed and we conclude that structural change and labour immobility were not such an important cause of interwar unemployment as is sometimes thought.