Februar 2010

IZA DP No. 4751: Determinants of Lifetime Unemployment: A Micro Data Analysis with Censored Quantile Regressions

published as "Distribution and determinants of lifetime unemployment" in: Labour Economics, 2012, 19 (1), 33-47

The empirical literature on unemployment almost exclusively focuses on the duration of distinct unemployment spells. In contrast, we use a large German administrative micro data set for the time span 1975-2004 to investigate individual lifetime unemployment (defined as the total length of all unemployment spells over a 25-year period). This new perspective enables us to answer questions regarding the long-term distribution and determinants of unemployment for West German birth cohorts 1950-1954. We find that lifetime unemployment is highly unevenly distributed and employ censored quantile regressions to show that, for men, pursuing a disadvantageous occupation early in the professional career leads to a significantly higher amount of lifetime unemployment.