February 2009

IZA DP No. 4025: Persistencies in the Labour Market

forthcoming in: R&R Oxford bulletin of Economics and Statistics

Using longitudinal income-tax registers, we study how past labour market outcomes affect current labour market transition rates. We focus on hysteresis effects of the durations and incidence of previous spells out of work. We estimate flexible multi-state Mixed Proportional Hazard specifications for transition rates between employment, unemployment, and welfare/non-participation. Our main finding is that after longer periods of employment with high income, individuals' transition rates from unemployment to employment increase. Longer periods of non-employment generally decrease future transition rates to work, and sometimes also from work. The quantitative magnitude of persistency and hysteresis effects on inequality is modest.