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The thick market effect on local unemployment rate fluctuations

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  • Gan, Li
  • Zhang, Qinghua

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between city size and the pattern of unemployment rate fluctuations. We present a model of the local labor market in which in a thicker market, when more workers are looking for jobs and more job openings are available, the matching probability between jobs and workers is higher. Workers incur search cost if they actively search for for jobs. A higher matching probability makes searching for jobs more desirable. Unemployed workers accumulate in a local market until the market reaches a critical size such that the expected wage is higher than the search cost. Since a given shock produces more unemployed workers in a larger city during a time period, it takes less time for a larger city to reach the critical size described above. As a consequence, the model predicts: (1)Unemployment rates are lower in larger cities. (2) The length of unemployment cycles decreases as city size increases. (3) The peak unemployment rate is negatively correlated with city size. Our empirical analysis utilizes data that covers 295 PMSAs in the U.S. over the years 1981--1997. After controlling for the effects of industry composition and risk diversification, we find that city size has a significantly negative effect on the mean unemployment rate. In particular, if city size increases by two standard deviations, the unemployment rate will be lowered by roughly a half percentage point. We also find that larger cities have shorter unemployment cycles. In particular, the unemployment cycle will be shortened by roughly one month if city size increases by two standard deviations. Finally, we find shallower recessions for larger cities. The peak unemployment rates are lower by .3 percentage points if the city size increases by two standard deviations. All these empirical results are consistent with the predictions of the model.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 133 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 127-152

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Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:133:y:2006:i:1:p:127-152

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconom

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Cited by:
  1. Zhang, Qinghua, 2007. "A micro-foundation of local business cycles," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 568-601, September.
  2. Fu, Shihe & Dong, Xiaofang & Chai, Guojun, 2008. "Industry specialization, diversification, churning, and unemployment in Chinese cities," MPRA Paper 15339, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. André Mollick, 2008. "What explains unemployment in US–Mexican border cities?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 169-182, March.
  4. Li Gan & Qinghua Zhang, 2013. "Market Thickness and the Impact of Unemployment on Housing Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 19564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig & Sudhir A. Venkatesh & Anthony A. Braga, 2005. "Underground Gun Markets," Working Papers id:245, eSocialSciences.
  6. Christopher H. Wheeler, 2006. "Local Market Scale and the Pattern of Job Changes Among Young Men," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 06-131, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  7. Peter Schaeffer & Tesfa Gebremedhin, 2004. "Labor Market Size and Unemployment Duration: A Theoretical Note," Working Papers 200408, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
  8. Alessandro Gavazza, 2011. "The Role of Trading Frictions in Real Asset Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1106-43, June.
  9. Qi Li & Jeffrey Scott Racine, 2006. "Nonparametric Econometrics: Theory and Practice," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8355.
  10. Sainan Jin & Yukako Ono & Qinghua Zhang, 2007. "Demand volatility and the lag between the growth of temporary and permanent employment," Working Paper Series WP-07-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. Coulson, N. Edward & Fisher, Lynn M., 2009. "Housing tenure and labor market impacts: The search goes on," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 252-264, May.
  12. Jeffrey A. Groen, 2005. "Occupation-Specific Human Capital and Local Labor Markets," Working Papers 376, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  13. Li Gan & Qinghua Zhang, 2006. "The Thick Market Effect on Housing Markets Transactions," NBER Working Papers 12134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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