The Korean Economic Review
Reassessing the Inflows and Outflows of Unemployment in Korea
Jong-Suk Han (Korea Institute of Public Finance) and Jiwoon Kim (Korea Development Institute)Year 2019Vol. 35No. 1
Using data from the Economically Active Population Survey from 1986 to 2014, wecomprehensively examine Korean unemployment dynamics using worker flows: inflow ratesand outflow rates. We estimate both flow rates by carefully correcting for time aggregationbias, and quantify the contribution of changes in each flow rate to unemploymentvariability through steady-state and non-steady-state decompositions. Our baseline analysisreports the average of inflow rates as 1.6% and that of outflow rates as 48%. Moreover,despite the small size of the inflow rates, inflows account for 90% of unemploymentvariability. The significant contribution of inflows to unemployment fluctuation stillappears even under a three-state model that includes inactive workers and heterogeneousflow rates by reasons for unemployment. The large contribution of inflows tounemployment changes despite high outflow rates is a unique feature of the Korean labormarket not seen in previous studies of OECD countries.