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CEP discussion paper

Spanish Unemployment Persistence and the Ladder Effect

This paper aims to examine unemployment persistence in Spain by the soûcalled 'ladder' effect. This arises when highly-skilled workers who do not find a job matching their skills accept jobs which previously were occupied by less qualified staff. We develop a dynamic general equilibrium model, in which two types of workers ù characterised by their level of formal education ù coexist on the labour market. Highly educated workers are then assumed to compete with lowûskilled workers, generating a ladder eñect. The model is then calibrated on the Spanish economy. Our results replicate the observed decline in the ratio of high to lowûskilled vacancies, and explains how firms substitute high for lowûskilled employment. The results also suggest that the Spanish ladder effect may reflect increases in the training costs as a result of a biased-shock against low-skilled workers.

Fabrice Collard, Raquel Fonseca and Rafael Munoz

July 2002     Paper Number CEPDP0538

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