Measurement Systems Compared

  • Kenneth Walsh


This chapter takes the problems and possibilities of data comparisons on the duration of unemployment further. The basis of the two measurement systems in parallel use, the administratively-derived data and the household survey data, have already been introduced, but their comparative value needs to be explored further so that the use of the two systems can be fully understood. In particular, there is a need to try and explain why, on the one hand, the USA and Sweden have low levels of LTU and their main systems of measurement are labour force surveys held relatively frequently, and on the other hand, the European Community countries where the administrative data base has shown a high and growing percentage of LTU. The question must be asked, how much of this difference between the two groups of countries is explained by measurement differences? If the explanatory factor is small in this instance, then it clears the way for a more thorough discussion of economic and labour market conditions as the explanation for the differing experiences.


Labour Market Labour Market Condition Labour Force Survey Unemployed Person Unemployment Spell 
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  1. 1.
    There may be other factors which influence the use of public employment services such as their accessibility and quality of service. See for example Walsh, K., ‘Measuring Europe’s Job Vacancies’ London, Employment Gazette, vol 90:8 (1982) for a comparison of some of these points between selected countries.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Reported in Walsh, K., ‘The Evolution and Context of UK Unemployment’, (Manpower Studies, no. 7, 1984).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Reported in Williams, S., A Job to Live, (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Burtless, G., ‘Why Is Insured Unemployment So Low?’, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, no. 1 (1983).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    For more discussion on recurrent spells of unemployment and their effects see for example White, M., Long-Term Unemployment and Labour Markets, (London: Policy Studies Institute, 1983); Disney, R., ‘Recurrent Spells and the Concentration of Unemployment in Britain’, Economic Journal, vol. 89 (Mar. 1979) andGoogle Scholar
  6. Akerlof, G. A. and Main, B. G., ‘Unemployment Spells and Unemployment Experience’, (American Economic Review, vol. 70 (Dec. 1980).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kenneth Walsh 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth Walsh
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Manpower StudiesUniversity of SussexUK

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