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Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment

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  • Robert Shimer

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

This paper uses readily accessible aggregate time series to measure the probability that an employed worker becomes unemployed and the probability that an unemployed worker finds a job, the ins and outs of unemployment. Since 1948, the job finding probability has accounted for three-quarters of the fluctuations in the unemployment rate in the United States and the employment exit probability for one-quarter. Fluctuations in the employment exit probability are quantitatively irrelevant during the last two decades. Using the underlying microeconomic data, the paper shows that these results are not due to compositional changes in the pool of searching workers, nor are they due to movements of workers in and out of the labor force. These results contradict the conventional wisdom that has guided the development of macroeconomic models of the labor market since 1990. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 127-148

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:11-293

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Keywords: Gross worker flows; Job finding rate; Separation rate; Employment exit rate;

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