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It takes two: employment polarisation in the OECD

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Unemployment is a well established measure for individuals'' desire for work but measures of poverty and most benefit systems focus on the household. This paper documents worklessness at a household level for 13 OECD countries over the last ten years. Variations in family size and the distribution of the available work across families leads to variation in workless households which are far more uniform across countries than unemployment or employment rates. For instance in 1994 Luxembourg had the lowest workless household rate at 10.5% and Ireland the highest at 22.3%. The paper goes on to explore the variation across family type and over time for the OECD countries and evaluates how powerful employment growth is in tackling worklessness across households.

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