9The Job Market for Adolescents

Paul Osterman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For many decades the high unemployment rates of youth have focused public attention upon their problems and upon programs to solve them. Indeed, youth unemployment has been one of the few social policy issues that both conservatives and liberals have agreed to address. Even in Thatcher’s Great Britain a major youth employment initiative is currently underway. Yet despite this public attention, and the resulting efforts by economists to study the problem, there is still no generally agreed upon diagnosis. This paper examines some of the various views held by economists and presents my own interpretation.

The first part of the paper reviews some of the key facts. ...

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