The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
High and persistent unemployment, as well as its composition, e.g., high youth unemployment, suggests underlying structural problems in the French labor market. Comparisons with other industrial countries, as well as time series and cross-section empirical evidence, point to a number of potential causes of structural unemployment in France. These Include the generosity of long-term relative to short-term unemployment benefits, the minimum wage, the level of employers’ tax wedge, skills mismatch, and the cost of capital. The paper assesses recent labor market measures in France that are considered, on the whole, as a step in the right direction, and puts forward a number of additional possible measures which could help to ensure that when the economic recovery gathers pace, unemployment will decline more quickly and more substantially than in the past.