This collection of work by Lawrence Summers and colleagues Kim Clark, James Poterba, Gregory Mankiw, Julio Rotemberg, and Olivier Blanchard explores new theories of joblessness that could eventually explain why unemployment remains high despite relatively healthy economic growth. It is based on the notion that joblessness is an important, measurable, and definable concept of pervasive importance in modern economies. Understanding Unemployment contains a number of articles that have changed the way economists think about unemployment. These examine the burden of unemployment, the extent to which normal measures understate its consequences, its relationship to supply and demand factors, and the role of unions. Substantial introductory and concluding chapters present new and original material on the crucial facts that any theory of unemployment must grapple with, and the types of theories needed to accommodate the empirical facts of today's unemployment.