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Author:Ahn, Hie Joo 

Working Paper
Heterogeneity in the Dynamics of Disaggregate Unemployment
This paper explores the role that unobserved heterogeneity within an observed category plays in the dynamics of disaggregate unemployment and in the cross-sectional differences across individuals of the duration of unemployment spells. The distribution of unobserved heterogeneity is characterized as a mixture of two distributions with each mean and weight determined by the inflows and outflows of workers with unobserved types H and L, which are identified based on the nonlinear state-space model of Ahn and Hamilton (2016). I found that the contribution of each factor to the dynamics of disaggregate unemployment differs by observed category. The inflow of type L workers is the most important factor in the majority of demographic groups in the business-cycle frequency. I identify permanent job loss to be the observable characteristic most closely associated with the type L attribute. A simple model of heterogeneity based on two unobserved types can account for explain more than 50 percent of the cross-sectional dispersion in completed-duration spells after the Great Recession, while observed heterogeneity makes only a minor contribution.
AUTHORS: Ahn, Hie Joo
DATE: 2016-07-29

Working Paper
Heterogeneity and Unemployment Dynamics
This paper develops new estimates of flows into and out of unemployment that allow for unobserved heterogeneity across workers as well as direct effects of unemployment duration on unemployment-exit probabilities. Unlike any previous paper in this literature, we develop a complete dynamic statistical model that allows us to measure the contribution of different shocks to the short-run, medium-run, and long-run variance of unemployment as well as to specific historical episodes. We find that changes in the inflows of newly unemployed are the key driver of economic recessions and identify an increase in permanent job loss as the most important factor.
AUTHORS: Ahn, Hie Joo; Hamilton, James D.
DATE: 2016-02-22

Working Paper
Precautionary On-the-Job Search over the Business Cycle
This paper provides new evidence for cyclicality in the job-search effort of employed workers, on-the-job search (OJS) intensity, in the United States using American Time Use Survey and various cyclical indicators. We find that OJS intensity is countercyclical along both the extensive and intensive margins, with the countercyclicality of extensive margin stronger than the other. An increase in the layoffs rate and the deterioration in expectations about future personal financial situation are the primary factors that raise OJS intensity. Our findings suggest that the precautionary motive in the job search is a crucial driver of the countercyclicality in OJS intensity.
AUTHORS: Ahn, Hie Joo; Shao, Ling
DATE: 2017-02-24

Working Paper
Measuring Labor-Force Participation and the Incidence and Duration of Unemployment
The underlying data from which the U.S. unemployment rate, labor-force participation rate, and duration of unemployment are calculated contain numerous internal contradictions. This paper catalogs these inconsistencies and proposes a reconciliation. We find that the usual statistics understate the unemployment rate and the labor-force participation rate by about two percentage points on average and that the bias in the latter has increased since the Great Recession. The BLS estimate of the average duration of unemployment overstates by 50% the true duration of uninterrupted spells of unemployment and misrepresents what happened to average durations during the Great Recession and its recovery.
AUTHORS: Ahn, Hie Joo; Hamilton, James D.
DATE: 2019-05-17

Journal Article
Factors in Unemployment Dynamics
The U.S. unemployment rate averaged 8.4% during the first five years of recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the weakest recovery on record. But as the expansion continued, unemployment continued to decline and by 2018 reached the lowest levels in almost half a century. In this Note, we explore why unemployment remained so high for so long, and what factors contributed to the recent lows.
AUTHORS: Ahn, Hie Joo; Hamilton, James D.
DATE: 2018-12-21


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