Returning to work: regional determinants of re-employment after major redundancies

Using matched employer–employee data on roughly 429,000 workers made redundant from large plant closures or major downsizing in Sweden between 1990 and 2005, this paper analyses the role of the regional industry mix (specialization, related and unrelated variety) in the likelihood of returning to work. The results show that a high presence of same or related industries speeds up the re-employment process, while high concentrations of unrelated activities do not. The role of related activities is particularly evident in the short run and in regions with high unemployment. Consequently, the prospect of successful diversification is enhanced in regions with related industries.