Unemployment: The Silent Epidemic

Levy Economics Institute, Working Papers Series No. 895

27 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2017

See all articles by Pavlina R. Tcherneva

Pavlina R. Tcherneva

Bard College - The Levy Economics Institute

Date Written: August 24, 2017


This paper examines two key aspects of unemployment — its propagation mechanism and socioeconomic costs. It identifies a key feature of this macroeconomic phenomenon: it behaves like a disease. A detailed assessment of the transmission mechanism and the existing pecuniary and nonpecuniary costs of unemployment suggests a fundamental shift in the policy responses to tackling joblessness. To stem the contagion effect and its outsized social and economic impact, fiscal policy can be designed around two criteria for successful disease intervention — preparedness and prevention. The paper examines how a job guarantee proposal uniquely meets those two requirements. It is a policy response whose merits include much more than its macroeconomic stabilization features, as discussed in the literature. It is, in a sense, a method of inoculation against the vile effects of unemployment. The paper discusses several preventative features of the program.

Keywords: Unemployment, Epidemic, Mortality, Morbidity, Health, Scarring Effects, Crime, Family, Job Guarantee, Labor Market Dynamics, Involuntary Job Loss, Prevention

JEL Classification: E24, E62, H1, H4, I18, I3, J08, J6

Suggested Citation

Tcherneva, Pavlina R., Unemployment: The Silent Epidemic (August 24, 2017). Levy Economics Institute, Working Papers Series No. 895, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3025544 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3025544

Pavlina R. Tcherneva (Contact Author)

Bard College - The Levy Economics Institute ( email )

30 Campus Road
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000
United States

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