Labour force participation and the business cycle: a comparative analysis of France, Japan, Sweden and the United States

J. Darby, R.A. Hart, M. Vecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the cyclical responsiveness of participation in the labour force. We examine systems of equations, disaggregated by age and gender, for France, Japan, Sweden and the US, using data from the OECD Labour Force Statistics, 1970-1995. We use measures of country specific business cycles following Harvey and Jaeger (1993) and test for asymmetric responses of participation to expansionary and contractionary phases of the cycle. Our results show that discouraged worker effects are prevalent. These effects are strongest in the downward phase of the cycle and are essentially a female phenomenon, with a particular concentration among 45-54 year olds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-133
Number of pages20
JournalJapan and the World Economy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • business cycle
  • employment
  • economics
  • world economy

Cite this