Equality and Equity Report

CCRU home background on CCRU community relations equality and equity research

Employment Equality Review
Research Report No 2

A PICTURE OF THE CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT
MALE UNEMPLOYED

Anthony Murphy with David Armstrong
Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre

CENTRAL COMMUNITY RELATIONS UNIT
(September 1994)



CHAPTER 7

JOB SEARCH BEHAVIOUR


Introduction

The job search behaviour of the unemployed is important because it is likely to affect the chances of the unemployed finding a job. In particular, we would expect that the more intensely someone looks for a job, the more likely he or she will be to find a job. The Labour Force Survey has information on the number and type of job search methods used by the unemployed. This information can be used to derive a proxy for search effort or search intensity[1]. The main purpose of this chapter is to investigate differences in job search behaviour amongst Catholics and non-Catholics.

The Data

In the LFS, the unemployed were asked to indicate which of the following job search methods they used. If they used more than one of these methods then they were also asked to indicate which was their 'main' method.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
visit job centre, employment office, job club etc;
have name on books of employment agency;
advertise for jobs;
answer newspaper etc job adverts;
study newspaper etc job adverts;
apply directly to employers;
ask friends and relatives etc about jobs;
wait for results of job application;
other methods.

In the economic literature on job search a distinction has been made between 'employer contact' job search methods and other methods. As the name suggests employer contact job search methods involve contacting employers instead of simply finding out information about vacancies. As such, it has been argued that employer contact methods are more search intensive than other methods and so they are more likely to result in finding a job. We follow Hughes and McCormick (1990), and designate methods (3) advertising for jobs, (4) answering job adverts, (6) applying directly to employers, and (9) other methods as 'employer contact' search.


Religious Differences in Job Search Behaviour

Table 7.1 shows the percentage of the unemployed using each of the job search methods and Table 7.2 gives the percentage of the unemployed using each of the methods as the 'main' search method. The most common methods used are looking at advertisements in newspapers and visiting the Job Market/Club. The figures show that there are statistically significant differences in the type of methods used by Catholics and non-Catholics. For example Table 7.1 suggests that Catholics are less likely than non-Catholics to visit the Job Market/Club, answer advertisements in newspapers and approach employers directly. However, Table 7.2 suggests that Catholics are more likely than non-Catholics to approach employers directly as their main method of job search. Also, non-Catholics are more likely than Catholics to answer advertisements as their main method of job search.

TABLE 7.1
JOB SEARCH METHODS USED
IFS SAMPLE

Search Method
Catholics
Others
All
.
%
%
%
Job Market/Club
59.6*
67.7*
62.8
Private Empl Agency
2.5*
6.9*
4.2
Advertise for Jobs (ec)
3.3
2.8
3.1
Answer Adverts (ec)
42.5*
52.1*
46.3
Look at Adverts
83.2
65.6
84.2
Approach Employers (ec)
39.4*
44.5*
41.4
Ask Friends, Relatives etc
55.3
59.3
56.9
Wait Result of Job Appl
16.6*
32.0*
22.6
Other (ec)
2.8
4.5
3.5
Sample Size N
989
641
1630

Note: Employer contact search methods are denoted by (ec). An astrix denotes that the differences between Catholics and Others are significant from a statistical point of view.



TABLE 7.2
MAIN JOB SEARCH METHOD USED
IFS SAMPLE

Search Method
Catholics
Others
All
.
%
%
%
Job Market/Club
27.1
30.7
28.5
Private Empl Agency
0.4
0.9
0.6
Advertise for Jobs (ec)
0.5
0.4
0.2
Answer Adverts (ec)
12.9*
17.9*
14.9
Look atAdverts
31.9
28.9
30.7
Approach Employers (ec)
10.3*
5.6*
8.4
Ask Friends, Relatives etc
14.6
11.5
13.4
Wait Result of Job Appl
1.0*
2.3*
1.5
Other (ec)
1.3
1.9
1.5
Sample Size N
989
641
1630

Note: Employer contact search methods are denoted by (ec). An astrix denotes that the differences between Catholics and Others are significant from a statistical point of view.

Table 7.3 shows the number of search methods used by Catholics and Others and Table 7.4 shows the number of employer contact search methods used. Both of these tables show that Catholics tend to use fewer job search methods than non-Catholics. On average, Catholics use 3.1 search methods including 0.9 employer contact methods, whereas non-Catholics use 3.6 methods including over 1.0 employer contact methods. This is important because, as outlined above, the total number of search methods has been used in the economic literature as a proxy for job search intensity. The figures presented in Tables 7.3-7.4, therefore, would suggest that unemployed Catholics search less intensely for work than unemployed non-Catholics. However, this result cannot be accepted at face value and it is discussed in more detail below.


TABLE 7.3
NUMBER OF JOB SEARCH METHODS USED
LFS SAMPLE

No
Catholics
Others
All
.
%
%
%
1
20.6
13.7
17.9
2
19.8
18.1
19.1
3
22.2
21.5
22.0
4
17.2
13.6
15.8
5
12.8
17.0
14.5
6
6.0
11.7
8.2
7
1.0
3.7
2.1
8
0.3
0.5
0.4
9
0.0
0.2
0.1
Average
3.1
3.6
3.3
Sample Size N
989
641
1630

Note: The average number of search methods used by Catholics and others are significantly different from a statistical point of view.


TABLE 7.4
NUMBER OF 'EMPLOYER CONTACT' SEARCH METHODS USED
IFS SAMPLE

No
Catholics
Other
All
.
%
%
%
0
39.3
33.4
37.0
1
35.8
32.3
34.4
2
22.5
31.5
26.1
3
2.1
2.7
2.3
4
0.2
0.2
0.2
Average
0.9*
1.0*
0.9
Sample Size N
989
641
1630

Note: The average number of employer contact search methods used by Catholics and others are significantly different from a statistical point of view.

Tables 7.5A and 7.5B show the percentage of unemployed Catholics and non-Catholics using an employer contact search method and using an employer contact search method as the main search method. The figures show that non-Catholics are more likely than Catholics to use employer contact search methods; 61% of Catholics use employer contact search methods versus 67% of non-Catholics. However the figures also show that there is very little difference between Catholics and non-Catholics in terms of using employer contact search methods as the main search method.


TABLE 7.5A
USE OF 'EMPLOYER CONTACT' SEARCH
LFS SAMPLE

.
Catholics
Others
All
.
%
%
%
Yes
60.7*
66.6*
63.0



TABLE 7.5B
USE OF 'EMPLOYER CONTACT' SEARCH AS MAIN METHOD
IFS SAMPLE

.
Catholics
Others
All
.
%
%
%
Yes
33.7
32.3
33.2

Note: The percentages of Catholics and Others using employer contact search methods in part (A) are significantly different.


Discussion of Religious Differences in Job Search Behaviour

It has been shown above that there are some statistically significant differences between Catholics and non-Catholics in terms of various aspects of job search behaviour. In particular it has been shown that Catholics tend to use fewer job search methods than non-Catholics. This is important because the number of job search methods has been used in the economic literature on job search as a proxy for search effort or search intensity. This means that the LFS data suggest that unemployed Catholics do not look as intensely for work as unemployed non-Catholics.

However, this result cannot be accepted at face value for at least two reasons. Firstly, it may be the case that the total number of job search methods is not a good proxy for search effort. In order to illustrate this consider someone who used one job search method a large number of times, eg someone might have answered ten advertisements in newspapers. Compare this individual to someone who uses two methods once only eg someone might have answered one advertisement in a newspaper and paid one visit to the jobmarket. If the number of job search methods is used as a proxy for search effort, then the first individual is judged to have searched less intensely than the second individual, which is clearly not the case. Therefore, it may be the case that for some individuals, the total number of job search methods is not a good proxy for search effort.

The second reason for being cautious about the idea that Catholics search less intensely than non-Catholics is that it is possible that it might be explained in terms of some of the differences in the characteristics of Catholics and non-Catholics. For example, we have seen that Catholics are more likely than non-Catholics to be long-term unemployed and, for reasons relating to motivation, discouragement etc, the long-term unemployed tend to use fewer search methods than the short-term unemployed. Therefore, it might be the case that part of the reason why Catholics tend to use fewer search methods than non-Catholics is that Catholics are more likely to be long-term unemployed than non-Catholics. A priori, similar arguments could be made in terms of other factors such as, for example, the geographical location of Catholics and non-Catholics.

In order to assess the strength of these arguments a range of econometric models of job search behaviour have been estimated. The results of these models are given in Appendix 7.3. The main reason for estimating the models is to see whether or not there were significant differences in the job search behaviour of Catholics and non-Catholics after a range of factors such as unemployment duration, geographical location and qualifications, etc have been taken into account.

Generally speaking, the results of the econometric models suggest that Catholics still tend to search less intensely for jobs even after other factors such as duration etc have been controlled for. For example, it was shown above that the average number of job search methods used by Catholics and non-Catholics were 3.1 and 3.6 respectively. This means that there is a 0.5pp difference in the average number of methods used by Catholics and non-Catholics. The econometric analysis suggests that between 0.2pp and 0.4pp of this can be accounted for by religion and the remainder can be accounted for by the other factors such as duration, geographical location, etc. Similar results are obtained when looking at the number of employer Contact methods used.

Overall, therefore, the econometric results suggest that about half of the observed difference in the number of search methods used by Catholics and non-Catholics can be explained by religion and about half can be explained by other observed factors which are correlated with religion. However, the 'bottom line' in all of this is that our results still suggest that unemployed Catholics search less intensely for work than unemployed non-Catholics. However, extreme care must be taken when interpreting this result. One interpretation of the finding might be that Catholics are less work orientated than non-Catholics. However, the limited available evidence on attitudes to work in Miller (1978) and McWhiter (1989) does not support this explanation. Therefore we reject the hypothesis that Catholics search less intensely for work than non-Catholics because they are less work orientated.

An alternative interpretation is that Catholics believe, either correctly or incorrectly, that they have a lower chance of obtaining a job. Job search theory shows that, all other things being equal, it is rational to search less when the probability of success IS lower.[2] The findings of the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Surveys (Osborne, 1989) are consistent with this explanation. The Social Attitudes Surveys show that Catholics believe that they are less likely to be successful in obtaining a job than equally qualified non-Catholics. In our view, therefore, the most likely reason why Catholics use fewer search methods than non-Catholics is that they believe their chances of getting a job are lower.


Notes:
[1] Hughes and McCormick (1990), Schmitt and Wadsworth (1993) and Wadsworth (1991) all suggest that the number and type of search methods used are good proxies for unobservable search effort or intensity.

[2] This is demonstrated formally in Appendix 7.2.

Return to Publication Contents




CHAPTER 8

LABOUR MARKET FLOWS


Introduction

This chapter investigates the differences in labour market flows between Catholic and other men using data from the Labour Force Survey. Labour market flows refer to movements between employment, unemployment and economic inactivity. The focus is on three topics - labour turnover, flows from employment for those who left a job and flows from unemployment for those who left unemployment.

We are interested in labour market flows because, at the individual level, the incidence of unemployment equals the probability of entering unemployment times the expected duration of unemployment. We examine flows into and out of unemployment as opposed to the stock of unemployment.

In our LFS sample, most men enter unemployment from employment so it is useful to examine separately labour turnover, ie the rate of leaving jobs, and flows from employment given labour turnover, ie conditional on having left a job. The other large labour market flow in our sample is the flow out of unemployment. However, the sample size is rather small if we restrict our analysis to those who left unemployment. Thus we examine the economic activity of all those unemployed one year before as well as those who left unemployment.

Data and Econometric Models

The LFS contains data on current economic activity and economic activity one year ago for all individuals. We also have data on the length of continuous employment and the duration of unemployment for those currently employed or unemployed. The limited and discrete nature of the available data severely restricts the type of econometric models of labour market flows which can be estimated'. See Appendix 8.1 for details.

In Great Britain, unlike Northern Ireland, the annual LES sample includes some individuals who were interviewed one year before. The recently introduced quarterly LFS in Britain includes many individuals who were interviewed in the previous quarter since only 20% of the households in the sample are replaced each quarter. With similar LFS data, panel data or cohort data for Northern Ireland we could estimate a range of less restrictive models.

Labour turnover is modelled using a probit equation. Flows from employment, conditional on turnover and flows from unemployment are modelled using multinomial logit and bivariate probit models. These models and their limitations are discussed in Appendix 8.1. We regard the models as mainly summarising the relationships in the data.

Labour Market Flows

Tables 8.1 and 8.2 show the flows between employment, unemployment and inactivity, disaggregated by religion, in our LES sample of men aged 20 to 59. Table 8.1 expresses current economic activity as a percentage of economic activity one year ago. For example, of those Catholics who were employed one year ago, 92.3% are currently employed. For completeness in Table 8.2 we reverse the order and express economic activity one year ago as a percentage of current economic activity. For example, of those Catholics who are currently employed, 92.4% were employed one year ago. Table 8.1 is the more important table. There are significant differences in the flows to and from employment and unemployment between Catholics and others. For example, in Table 8.1, 6.3% of Catholics who were employed one year ago are unemployed now and 70.1% of Catholics unemployed one year ago are unemployed now. The corresponding figures for non-Catholics are 3.3% and 64.7% which are significantly lower.

TABLE 8.1
Labour Market Flows
CURRENT ACTIVITY AS A PERCENTAGE OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
ONE YEAR AGO
LFS Sample

Current Economic Activity
Economic Activity One Year Ago
.
Employed
Unemployed
Inactive
.
%
%
%
(a) Catholics
Employed
92.3
16.0
7.9
unemployed
6.3
70.1
7.0
Inactive
1.5
13.9
85.1
Sample Size N = 4527
2888
1110
529
(b) Others
Employed
95.6
22.3
8.8
Unemployed
3.3
64.7
6.8
Inactive
1.0
12.9
84.4
Sample Size N = 6742
5629
658
455
(C) All
Employed
94.5
18.4
8.3
Unemployed
4.3
68.1
6.9
Inactive
1.2
13.5
84.8
Sample Size N = 11269
8517
1768
984



TABLE 8.2
Labour Market Flows
ECONOMIC ACTIVITY ONE YEAR AGO
AS A PERCENTAGE OF CURRENT ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
LFS Sample

Economic Activity One Year Ago
Current Economic Activity
.
Employed
Unemployed
Inactive
.
%
%
%
(a) Catholics. ..
Employed
92.4
18.2
6.5
Unemployed
6.2
78.1
23.8
Inactive
1.5
3.7
69.7
Sample Size N = 4527
2885
996
646
.
.
.
.
(b) Others
.
.
.
Employed
96.6
29.1
11.2
Unemployed
2.6
66.0
16.1
Inactive
0.7
4.8
72.7
Sample Size N = 6742
5569
645
528
.
.
.
.
(C) All
.
.
.
Employed
95.2
22.5
8.6
Unemployed
3.8
73.4
20.4
Inactive
1.0
4.1
71.0
SampleSize N = 11,269
8454
1641
1174


Table 8.3 shows the figures from Table 8.1 broken down by age group. The table is in two parts. The first part refers to Catholics and the second part refers to non-Catholics. Although the sample sizes in some cells are small, the statistically significant differences between Catholics and others still remain. For example, looking at 20 to 24 year olds, we find that 16.2% of Catholics employed one year ago are unemployed now whilst 23.9% of those unemployed one year ago are employed now. The corresponding figures for non-Catholics are 9.0% and 39.8% respectively which are significantly better.

TABLE 8.3
Labour Market Flows by Age Groups
CURRENT ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AS A PERCENTAGE OF
ECONOMIC ACTIVITY ONE YEAR AGO
LFS Sample

Current
EconomicActivity
Economic Activity One Year Ago
.
Employed
Unemployed
Inactive
.
%
%
%
(a) Catholics
Employed
.
.
.
20-24
80.3
23.9
14.2
25-34
92.0
18.1
16.1
35-44
95.9
10.9
7.3
45-54
95.9
9.5
.
55-59
93.2
11.9
3.6
Unemployed
.
.
.
20-24
16.2
67.3
10.8
25-34
6.9
70.1
8.0
35-44
3.6
73.3
9.2
45-54
3.3
73.0
5.4
55-59
2.1
59.3
.
Inactive
.
.
.
20-24
3.5
8.8
75.0
25-34
1.2
11.8
75.9
35-44
0.5
15.8
83.5
45-54
0.7
17.5
94.6
55-59
4.7
28.8
96.4

TABLE 8.3 (Contd)
Labour Market Flows by Age Groups
CURRENT ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AS A PERCENTAGE OF
ECONOMIC ACTIVITY ONE YEAR AGO
LFS Sample

Current
Economic Activity
Economic Activity One Year Ago
.
Employed
Unemployed
Inactive
(b) Others.. .
Employed.. .
20-24
89.1
39.8
21.6
25-34
95.8
23.7
11.1
35-44
97.1
16.5
8.0
45-54
97.3
14.2
3.4
55-59
94.5
12.8
.
Unemployed.. .
20-24
9.0
48.8
9.9
25-34
3.1
65.7
11.1
35-44
2.4
72.4
6.7
45-54
2.1
67.5
6.8
55-59
2.6
68.1
1.0
Inactive.. .
20-24
1.8
11.4
68.5
25-34
1.0
10.6
77.8
35-44
0.5
11.2
85.3
45-54
0.6
18.3
89.7
55-59
3.0
19.1
99.0


Labour Turnover

In Table 8.4 labour turnover is disaggregated by age group. The turnover rate is the percentage of those employed one year ago who are either employed in a different job or else not employed now. The aggregate Catholic turnover rate is significantly higher than the non-Catholic rate. Even when we take account of age, Catholic turnover rates are a little higher. However, the differences are small and are not statistically significant.


TABLE 8.4
LABOUR TURNOVER BY AGE GROUP
LFS SAMPLE

Age Group
Catholics
Others
All
20-24
26.6
23.2
24.5
25-34
13.7
12.6
13.0
35-44
7.7
7.7
7.7
45-54
7.2
6.1
6.4
55-59
9.5
7.4
7.9
All
12.2*
10.5*
11.1
Sample Size N
2847
5604
8451

Notes: The turnover rate is the percentage of those employed one year ago who are either employed in a different job or not employed.
Statistically significant differences are denoted by a *.


Flows from Unemployment

In Table 8.5 we examine what happened to those who left a job ie we condition on labour turnover. Our sample consists of those who were employed one year ago but who are either currently unemployed or inactive or else employed in a different job. There are significant differences in outcomes between Catholic and other men. In our sample 46.3% of Catholic men who left employment in the past year were unemployed as opposed to 30.3% of non-Catholics. Catholics are significantly more likely to be unemployed even when we control for age. For example, 56.4% of Catholic men aged 20-24 were unemployed as opposed to 36.2% of non-Catholic men. Catholic men aged 55-59 are significantly more likely to leave the labour force.

TABLE 8.5
FLOWS FROM EMPLOYMENT GIVEN TURNOVER
IFS Sample

.
Catholics
Others
All
.
%
%
%
Employed
43.1
60.0
53.7
Unemployed
46.3
30.3
36.2
Inactive
10.6
9.7
10.0
Employed
.
.
.
20-24
33.7
56.4
47.2
25-34
49.2
67.3
60.4
35-44
50.0
63.6
58.9
45-54
43.6
56.4
52.1
55-59
27.8
29.7
29.1
.
.
.
.
Unemployed
.
.
.
20-24
56.4
36.2
44.4
25-34
43.0
24.5
31.5
35-44
43.5
30.5
35.0
45-54
46.2
33.3
37.6
55-59
22.0
32.4
29.1
.
.
.
.
Inactive
.
.
.
20-24
9.9
7.4
8.4
25-34
7.8
8.2
8.0
35-44
6.5
5.9
6.1
45-54
10.3
10.3
10.3
55-59
50.0
37.8
41.8
.
.
.
.
Sample Size N
348
590
938



Unemployed One Year Ago

In Table 8.6 the current economic activity of all those who were unemployed one year ago is examined. Unemployed Catholics are significantly more likely to be unemployed and less likely to be employed one year later. When we disaggregate by age group we still find significant differences between Catholics and others. Of course some of the significant differences between Catholics and others may be due to differences in other observable characteristics apart from age and religion.

The sample used in Table 8.6 consists of all those unemployed one year ago. Thus the significant religion effects we find are due to some combination of religion effects on the hazard or exit rate from unemployment and, conditional on having left unemployment, the state entered on leaving unemployment. Ideally we want to disentangle these duration and transition state effects.

Flows from Unemployment

In Table 8.7 the sample is restricted to those unemployed one year ago who left unemployment, ie those who are currently employed, on a scheme, inactive or unemployed less than one year. With this sample we are mainly picking up the second effect noted above, ie differences between Catholics and others in the labour market states entered on leaving unemployment.

Although the sample size in Table 8.7 is small, we find that Catholics are significantly less likely to obtain a job, and are more likely to be on a scheme or be inactive. Overall 33.5% of Catholics who left unemployment are employed (other than on a government scheme), 15.4% are on a scheme, 8.8% are unemployed and 42.3% are inactive. The corresponding figures for non-Catholics are 46.3% employed (other than on a scheme), 13.7% on a scheme, 9.3% unemployed and 33.1% inactive. Most of the inactive are discouraged. The rates of discouragement are 71.7% for Catholics and 52.6% for non-Catholic men.

TABLE 8.6
CURRENT ECONOMIC ACTIVITY OF MEN UNEMPLOYED ONE YEAR AGO
DISAGGREGATED BY AGE GROUP
LFS Sample

.
Catholics
Others
All
.
%
%
%
Employed
(Incld Schemes)
16.0
(5.0)
22.3
(4.4)
18.4
(4.8)
Unemployed
70.1
64.7
68.1
Inactive
13.9
12.9
13.5
.
.
.
.
Employed
.
.
.
20-24
23.9
39.8
29.1
25-34
18.1
23.7
20.1
35-44
10.9
16.5
13.2
45-54
9.5
14.2
11.3
55-59
11.9
12.8
12.3
.
.
.
.
Unemployed
.
.
20-24
67.3
48.8
61.2
25-34
70.1
65.7
68.5
35-44
73.3
72.4
72.9
45-54
73.0
67.5
70.9
55-59
59.3
68.1
63.2
.
.
.
.
Inactive
.
.
.
20-24
8.8
11.4
9.6
25-34
11.8
10.6
11.4
35-44
15.8
11.2
13.9
45-54
17.5
18.3
17.8
55-59
28.8
19.1
24.5
.
.
.
.
SampleSizeN
1110
658
1768



TABLE 8.7
CURRENT ECONOMIC ACTIVITY OF THOSE WHO LEFT
UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE PAST YEAR
IFS Sample

.
Catholics
Others
All
.
%
%
%
Employed
48.9
57.6
52.5
(Non-Scheme)
(33.5)
(46.3)
(38.8)
(Scheme)
(15.4)
(11.3)
(13.7)
Unemployed
8.8
9.3
9.0
Inactive
42.3
33.1
38.5
.
.
.
.
Employed (incl'd Schemes)
.
.
.
20-24
61.9 (26.8)
66.3 (14.9)
63.7 (21.6)
25-34
57.4 (10.4)
62.9 (12.2)
60.3 (11.1)
35-44
37.5 (12.5)
53.8 (11.5)
44.4 (12.1)
45-54
32.7 (14.5)
40.4 (7.1)
36.0 (11.3)
55-59
28.0 (4.0)
40.0 (-)
30.0 (2.5)
.
.
.
.
Unemployed
.
.
.
20-24
15.5
14.9
15.2
25-34
5.2
6.8
5.8
35-44
8.3
9.6
8.9
44-54
7.3
7.1
7.2
55-59
4.0
-
2.5
.
.
.
.
Inactive
.
.
.
20-24
22.7
18.9
21.1
25-34
37.4
28.4
33.8
35-44
54.2
36.5
46.8
45-54
60.0
52.4
56.7
55-59
66.0
60.0
65.0
.
.
.
.
Sample Size N
364
257
621



Econometric Analysis of Labour Market Flows

In Appendix 8.1 we consider how to model the labour market flow data in the LFS. Econometric model results are presented in Appendix 8.2. Labour turnover is modelled using probit models. A large number of explanatory variables are included, for example socio-economic group and industry dummies. In the various models which we estimate, being Catholic does not have a significant influences on labour turnover. From this we conclude that, when a range of other relevant variables are taken into account, there are no significant differences in labour turnover between Catholic and other men.

A number of different models were used to estimated outflows from employment and from unemployment. The details of these models are given in Appendix 8.2. Flows from employment are modelled conditional on labour turnover by considering those who left their job in the past. For these individuals, being Catholic reduces the probability of being employed by about 11.2% (0.112), increases the probability of being unemployed by 12.6% (0.126) and reduces the probability of being inactive by about 1.5% (-0.014). All three effects are statistically significant. In terms of flows from unemployed, the results suggest that Catholic men who are unemployed one year ago are about 4% (-0.038) less likely to be employed now than other men.


Conclusions

In this Chapter LFS data are used to examine differences in labour market flows, ie movements to and from employment, schemes, unemployment and inactivity, between Catholic and other men. We focus on labour turnover, outflows from employment and outflows from unemployment.

According to raw figures, Catholic men have a slighter higher labour turnover rate than non-Catholic men, ie Catholics are more likely to leave their job for whatever reason. However, in our econometric models of labour turnover, which take account of socioeconomic group, industry and other relevant variables, we find no significant difference in labour turnover between Catholic and other men.

When we examine outflows from employment and unemployment significant Catholic effects are found. Looking at all those employed one year ago who left their job for whatever reason, we find that ceteris paribus, Catholic men are significantly less likely to be employed and more likely to be unemployed. These effects are found for all age groups.

Amongst those who were unemployed one year ago and who left unemployment at some point in the past year, Catholic men are found to be significantly less likely to be employed and more likely to be on a scheme or unemployed now.


Notes:
[1] For example, it is not possible to estimate interesting models along the lines of Tuma and Robins (1980), Burdett et al (1984), Olsen et al (1986) and most of the other models surveyed in Chapter 6 of Devine and Kiefer (1991).

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CHAPTER 9

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS


Overview

In this paper two large household survey datasets are used to provide a comprehensive picture of the relationship between male unemployment and religion. A range of econometric models are used to examine various aspects of unemployment in addition to the incidence of unemployment. These include economic inactivity and discouragement, the duration of unemployment, job search behaviour, labour turnover and labour market flows.


IFS and CHS Data

Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Continuous Household Survey (CHS) data for men aged between 20 and 59 are used. This choice of age group avoids most of the problems associated with the decisions to participate in education and training schemes and to retire.

These two datasets are large. The effective LFS and OHS samples are 11,300 and 6,600 respectively and so sampling variability is not a major problem. The LFS data are for the four years 1985, 1986, 1990 and 1991 and the OHS data are for the four years 1986 to 1989. The data have been recoded to ensure consistency over time.

The LES and OHS data are not ideal for answering all the questions we are interested

in. Panel or cohort data would be better. However, we use econometric models to extract as much information as possible from the existing data. With LFS and OHS data we cannot directly address the issues of the black economy and security related employment. Removing the security related jobs effect is likely to reduce the unemployment differential by between 10% and 15%.


Econometric Modelling

Econometric models are used to disentangle the effects of many factors which simultaneously contribute to the various aspects of unemployment. A large number of explanatory variables are included in the models. Our list of explanatory variables is more comprehensive than those used by other researchers and is based on studies of the incidence of unemployment for Northern Ireland, the UK and elsewhere.


The Unemployment Differential

In public debate a great deal of attention is attached to the male unemployment differential, the ratio of Catholic to Protestant (or non-Catholic) unemployment rates. The unemployment differential in our OHS data is 2.5.

In our LFS data this ratio fell from 2.6 in 1985/86 to 2.3 in 1990/91. However, a clustered sample design was used to collect the LFS data in 1985/86. As a result we cannot say that the fall from 2.6 to 2.3 is statistically significant.


Review of Previous Studies

We critically review two important studies which model the incidence of unemployment in Northern Ireland, namely Smith and Chambers (1991) and Compton (1990). These studies reach opposite conclusions and represent the two opposing views of the factors which account for the unemployment differential. We review some of the criticisms which have been made of these studies. In addition we set out some important new criticisms of Compton's methodology.


Incidence of Unemployment

A series of econometric models of the incidence of unemployment by religion were constructed and a range of statistical tests were carried out to check the robustness of our results. The models control for a large number of relevant factors including age, number of children, housing tenure, educational and other qualifications and area of residence. We find that religion accounts for about half of the unemployment differential in our two samples. Differences in the personal and other characteristics of the Catholic and non-Catholic populations account for the rest of the unemployment differential. Ceteris paribus, therefore, we find that Catholic men are significantly more likely to be unemployed than non-Catholic men. These findings are robust and are consistent with the results of Smith and Chambers (1990).


Interpretation of Findings

Our findings must be interpreted carefully. For example the large and significant Catholic effect on the incidence of unemployment does not necessarily equate with discrimination.

A large and significant Catholic effect may be explained by a range of factors which are not in our models because they are not measured in our data. These factors must be both correlated with religion and have a large effect on the incidence of unemployment. Possible factors commonly mentioned include differences in labour force growth, subject mix at school or college, motivation, as well as direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, or the 'chill factor'.[1]

The effect of differences in labour force growth were examined using a stylised model. Under a range of plausible assumptions, we do not obtain a large effect on the unemployment differential. Some combination of very low labour turnover rates, zero or negative employment growth rates, high Catholic labour force growth rates and segregation in employment are required to obtain large effects on the unemployment differential. In addition we include age and the number of children as explanatory variables in our microeconometric models. These two variables are significant and we argue that they capture some of the labour force growth effects.

There is little evidence that subject mix in Northern Ireland or elsewhere has a large effect on the incidence of unemployment. Also the limited evidence available does not suggest that Catholics are less motivated, less flexible or have a poorer attitude to work than non-Catholics.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, we believe that some mix of direct or indirect discrimination or the 'chill factor' is important in explaining our results. With the data available, it is not possible to split this effect into direct discrimination, indirect discrimination or 'chill factor' components. In addition, it is difficult to apportion these effects into current and past components. The reason is that past unemployment increases the risk of current unemployment. This is likely to be due to the loss of human capital or 'stigma' or 'scarring' effects. Thus the current incidence of unemployment depends, in part, on the past incidence of unemployment. As a result, it is rather difficult to disentangle the effect of past factors from ongoing factors.

However, we may obtain some indication of whether the relevant factors operated only in the past or continue to operate more recently by examining the incidence of unemployment for young males, say those aged 20 to 24, and by examining flows to and from employment and unemployment. In both cases we find significant negative Catholic effects. This suggests that some current disadvantage is present for Catholics, and that the unemployment differential cannot be explained solely in terms of past disadvantage.


Economic Inactivity and Discouragement

Catholic men are significantly more likely to be economically inactive than non-Catholic men. In our models about half of the difference in inactivity rates between Catholics and others is explained by religion; the remainder is explained by differences in other characteristics.

In the raw data significantly more inactive Catholics are discouraged ie they are not actively looking for work because they believe that there are no, presumably suitable, jobs available. However, in our models when we control for a range of relevant personal characteristics and other factors, we do not find a significant religion effect on the incidence of discouragement. Ceteris paribus, inactive Catholic men do not appear to be more discouraged than non-Catholic men.

Surprisingly we find that there is no need to model the incidence of unemployment and economic inactivity jointly. When we control for a range of factors no significant correlation between unemployment and non-participation is found.

More inactive Catholics claim benefits. However the higher Catholic rate of claiming is largely accounted for by their higher rate of discouragement.


Duration of Unemployment

The duration of unemployment was examined using a variety of simple and more elaborate econometric models. The latter models attempt to take account of the way the data are generated.

Using LFS duration data we find significant religion effects. Catholic men are significantly more likely to be long-term unemployed than other men, ceteris paribus. Also, the exit rate of Catholic men from unemployment is significantly lower. These effects are found both in the raw data and in the models which control for a range of other factors.

With OHS duration data, no significant religion effects were found either in the raw data or in our models. This is highly surprising and implausible. If true, it implies that, ceteris paribus, differences in unemployment rates between Catholic and other men are solely due to differences in entry rates into unemployment. There is no evidence for this in the larger LFS samples. Examination of the data suggests that sampling variability is the reason for these strange results. In support of this is should be noted that there appears to be significant religion effects in the OHS duration data for the earlier years 1983 to 1985.


Job Search Behaviour

In our LFS sample, there are significant differences between Catholic and other men in the number and type of job search methods used. These are commonly used as proxies for search intensity. If we follow this approach, our findings imply that Catholic men search less than non-Catholic men. Of course, it may be the case that the number and type of job search methods used may be poor proxies for search intensity.

Catholic men used fewer job search methods and slightly fewer 'employer contact' search methods. 'Employer contact' methods are more direct and likely to be more successful.

The interpretation of these findings is not clear cut. Job search theory suggests that, ceteris paribus, it is rational to search less when the probability of success is lower. Thus Catholic men may search less because either they are less work orientated or they correctly or incorrectly believe that they have a lower chance of obtaining a job.

The limited available evidence does not suggest that Catholics are less work orientated and so the former explanation should probably be discounted. The findings of Social Attitudes Surveys are consistent with the latter explanation. High discouragement rates and a preference for a job amongst inactive Catholics are also consistent with this. In our view, therefore, the most likely reason why Catholics use fewer search methods is because they believe their chances of getting a job are less.


Labour Market Flows

The limited data on labour market flows in the LFS severely restrict the type of econometric models which can be estimated. We regard the models in this paper as mainly summarizing the relationships in the data. Labour turnover, flows from employment and flows from unemployment were all examined.

In the raw data Catholic rates of labour turnover are a little higher. However, when we control for socio-economic group, industry and other relevant variables we find no significant difference in labour turnover between Catholic and other men. Therefore, higher Catholic unemployment rates are not attributable to higher Catholic turnover rates.

When we consider all those employed one year ago who left their job for whatever reason, Catholic men are significantly less likely to be employed and more likely to be unemployed, ceteris paribus. This effect is found for all age groups.

Amongst all of those who were unemployed one year ago, Catholic men are significantly more likely to be unemployed and less likely to be employed one year on, even when we control for a range of relevant factors. Again, this effect is present for all age groups. We obtain much the same results when we examine what happened to those who left unemployment in the past year so this is unlikely to be just a high Catholic unemployment duration effect.


Notes:
[1] Few individuals employed in security related jobs or engaged in the black economy respond, either directly or by proxy, to household surveys such as the LFS or CHS, so we do not need to consider these two factors in detail. Of course, some men employed in security related jobs may disguise their true occupations by classifying themselves as civil servants. However, we do not believe that our findings are affected by this to any great extent.

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