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Financial system stress and unemployment in industrial countries

Horst Feldmann (Department of Economics, University of Bath, Bath, UK)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




This paper aims to analyze how financial system turmoil affected unemployment in industrial countries during the period 1982 to 2003.


The paper uses annual data on 17 industrial countries. It employs the International Monetary Fund's financial stress index and a large number of controls.


The paper finds that, during the sample period, financial market turmoil had only moderate adverse effects on unemployment. Stress in the banking sector and stress in foreign exchange markets were particularly likely to increase unemployment, although the relevant effects were modest too. Turmoil in securities markets affected unemployment only slightly. The results are robust to variations in specification.


While previous papers only look at a small number of banking crises, this paper's sample includes crises in all major areas of the financial sector. Furthermore, whereas previous papers cover only major crises, it additionally takes both minor crises and periods of relative calm into account. Finally, this paper is the first to statistically control for the impact of all major determinants of labor market performance.



Feldmann, H. (2011), "Financial system stress and unemployment in industrial countries", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 504-527.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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