Economic Determinants of Unemployment in Malaysia: Short – and Long – Run Causality

Jason Freedline Baba, Dayang Haszelinna binti Abang Ali


The problem of unemployment has become a worrisome issue over the past few years as it is growing at an alarming state in many countries throughout the world particularly in developing countries such as Malaysia. There are numerous factors that cause this phenomenon. Therefore, the aim of this study is to empirically investigate the determinants of unemployment in Malaysia as well as the relationship between unemployment and the chosen fundamental macroeconomic factors such as gross domestic product, foreign direct investment, inflation, and population. This study utilized the annual time series data of 31 year period starting from the year 1985 to the year 2015. The methodology of econometric analysis have been applied in this study such as unit root tests, co-integration test, vector error correction model, variance decompositions, and impulse response functions analysis. The findings showed that there are presences of short run causality among the variables and also a presence of long run only when population act as the dependent variable in the model. Besides, the findings indicate that GDP has a significant negative impact whereas FDI has a significant positive impact on unemployment in Malaysia. Overall, the conclusion of this study suggests that demand side policies and supply side policies are the most excellent and suitable approach in overcoming the problem of unemployment in Malaysia.

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