Specifically, government workers were counted as unemployed by Stanley Lebergott.
In counting persons on work relief as unemployed, Lebergott (1964) was effectively following census practice in 1940. Darby (1976, p. 5) challenged this practice, arguing that "[f]rom the Keynesian viewpoint, labor voluntarily employed on contracyclical... government projects should certainly be counted as employed. On the search approach to unemployment, a person who accepts a job and withdraws voluntarily from the activity of search is clearly employed." The logic of Darby's position can be debated. Although he claims that Keynesians would "certainly" count persons on work relief as employed, he identifies no Keynesians who ever held this view. The instructions to enumerators of the 1940 census specify several instances in which unemployed persons who were not actively seeking work (for example, because there was no work to be found in their occupation in their community) were still to be counted as unemployed (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1983, section 6, p. 27). Consistency with the search approach to unemployment would, at
the very least, require that such persons be separated out from the unemployed who were actively searching for work, which Darby fails to do. I am grateful to Stanley Lebergott for these points. For a detailed critique of Darby (1976), see Kesselman and Savin (1978).
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