Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective

Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective

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High unemployment has been one of the most disturbing features of the economy of the 1980s. For a precedent, one must look to the interwar period and in particular to the Great Depression of the 1930s. It follows that recent years have been marked by a resurgence of interest amongst academics in interwar unemployment. The debate has been contentious. There is nothing like the analysis of a period which recorded rates of un employment approaching 25 per cent to highlight the differences between competing schools of thought on the operation of labour markets. Along with historians, economists whose objective is to better understand the causes, character and consequences of contemporary unemployment and sociologists seeking to understand contemporary society's perceptions and responses to joblessness have devoted increasing attention to this his torical episode. Like many issues in economic history, this one can be approached in a variety of ways using different theoretical approaches, tools of analysis and levels of disaggregation. Much of the recent literature on the func tioning of labour markets in the Depression has been macroeconomic in nature and has been limited to individual countries. Debates from the period itself have been revived and new questions stimulated by modem research have been opened. Many such studies have been narrowly fo cused and have failed to take into account the array of historical evidence collected and anal~sed by contemporaries or reconstructed and re- inter preted by historians.Table 3.9 Unemployment by Occupational Class, 1931 Male Female Out of Total 9% Out of Total % work occupied unempa#39;d work occupied unempa#39;d la. ... the one exception is in the case of skilled manual workers, perhaps reflecting the collapse of staple sectors after 1929. ... 73-6) does, however, suggest that the duration of unemployment was lower for unskilled (general) labourers than for skilledanbsp;...

Title:Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective
Author:Barry J. Eichengreen, T.J. Hatton
Publisher:Springer Science & Business Media - 2012-12-06


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