Defining Unemployment in Developing Countries: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago

23 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2003

See all articles by Eric Strobl

Eric Strobl

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris - Department of Economic Sciences; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

David M. Byrne

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: December 2002

Abstract

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) argues for relaxing the standard definition of unemployment in developing countries by eliminating the requirement that a person be actively searching for a job. We examine whether such an extension of the standard definition is appropriate in the case of Trinidad and Tobago. Specifically, we use the Trinidad and Tobago labour force survey to examine whether active job search is important in determining the labour market transitions of the non-employed. Our results indicate that in Trinidad and Tobago males, who under the standard criteria would be considered out of the labour force because they report willingness to work but are not currently searching for a job, are appropriately classified as unemployed. Further evidence suggests that this may be because job search may not be as meaningful in rural as it is in urban areas.

Keywords: Definition of Unemployment, Job Search, Developing Countries

JEL Classification: J6, O1

Suggested Citation

Strobl, Eric and Byrne, David M., Defining Unemployment in Developing Countries: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago (December 2002). IZA Discussion Paper No. 659. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=372465

Eric Strobl (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris - Department of Economic Sciences ( email )

Ecole Polytechnique
Department of Economics
Paris, 75005
France

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

David M. Byrne

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th and C Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

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