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Labour reallocation and structural unemployment in the UK

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2021
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


What are the economic effects of workers moving from one sector to the other? There is a revival of the discussion on the effects of labour reallocation in advanced economies after the global financial crisis (see for example Estevão and Tsounta, 2011; Diamond, 2013; Simon, 2014; Bakas et al., 2017 for United States, Basile et al., 2012 for Italy, Bauer and King, 2018 for Germany, and Monteforte, 2019 for Spain). However, while there are several earlier works for the UK (see for example Mills et al., 1996; Pissarides, 2006; Robson, 2009 among others) the recent evidence, especially after the financial crisis and the Brexit referendum, is rather weak.

This research project aims to examine empirically the contribution of labour reallocation among sectors and regions to unemployment in the UK over the recent period at micro and/or macro level. The empirical analysis on the project will be conducted using regional and sectoral panel data for the UK by employing state-of-the-art panel data regression methods. The objectives of this study are a) to provide new empirical evidence about the reallocation of labour and its contribution to changes in the patterns of unemployment at sectoral, regional and national level in the UK, b) to isolate the regional and sectoral effects of labour reallocation on unemployment rate, and c) to present a policy evaluation framework by performing counterfactual exercises which quantify how labour reallocation expected due to Brexit could affect unemployment rate.

Indicative References

Bakas, D., Panagiotidis, T., and Pelloni, G. (2017). Regional and Sectoral Evidence of the Macroeconomic Effects of Labor Reallocation: A Panel Data Analysis, Economic Inquiry, 55(1), 501-526.

Basile, R., Girardi, A., Mantuano, M., and Pastore, F. (2012). Sectoral Shifts, Diversification and Regional Unemployment: Evidence from Local Labour Systems in Italy. Empirica, 39(4), 525-544.

Diamond, P. (2013). Cyclical Unemployment, Structural Unemployment, IMF Economic Review, 61(3), 410-455.
Estevão, M.M., and Tsounta, E. (2011). Has the Great Recession Raised US Structural Unemployment?, IMF Working Papers 11/105, 1-46.

Mills, T. C., Pelloni, G., and Zervoyianni, A. (1996). Cyclical Unemployment and Sectoral Shifts: Further Tests of the Lilien Hypothesis for the UK. Economics Letters, 52(1), 55-60.

Monteforte, F. (2019). Structural Change, the Push-Pull Hypothesis and the Spanish Labour Market. Economic Modelling, forthcoming.

Pissarides, C.A. (2006). Unemployment in Britain: a European Success Story. Structural Unemployment in Europe: Reasons and Remedies, 9, 209-236.

Robson, M. (2009). Structural Change, Specialization and Regional Labour Market Performance: Evidence for the UK. Applied Economics, 41(3), 275-293.

Simon, C. (2014). Sectoral Change and Unemployment during the Great Recession, in Historical Perspective, Journal of Regional Science, 54(5), 828-855.


Dr Dimitrios Bakas

Dr Amairisa Kouki

Entry qualifications

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. A research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) must be submitted as part of the application.

For more information please visit the NTU Doctoral School – Research Degrees webpages.

How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

Please visit our how to apply page for a step-by-step guide and make an application.

Fees and funding

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity. Find out more about fees and funding here.

Guidance and support

Find out about guidance and support for PhD students.

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Dimitrios Bakas