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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Labor Market Four Years Into the Crisis: Assessing Structural Explanations

Jesse Rothstein

NBER Working Paper No. 17966
Issued in March 2012
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS

Four years after the beginning of the Great Recession, the labor market remains historically weak. Many observers have concluded that "structural" impediments to recovery bear some of the blame. This paper reviews such structural explanations. I find that there is little evidence supporting these hypotheses, and that the bulk of the evidence is more consistent with the hypothesis that continued poor performance is primarily attributable to shortfalls in the aggregate demand for labor.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17966

Published: The Labor Market Four Years Into the Crisis: Assessing Structural Explanations" Industrial and Labor Relations Review 65(3), June 2012, p.p. 467-500. citation courtesy of

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