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Turbulence and Unemployment in a Job Matching Model

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  • Wouter J. Den Haan
  • Christian Haefke
  • Garey Ramey

Abstract

According to Ljungqvist and Sargent (1998), high European unemployment since the 1980s can be explained by a rise in economic turbulence, leading to greater numbers of unemployed workers with obsolete skills. These workers refuse new jobs due to high unemployment benefits. In this paper we reassess the turbulence-unemployment relationship using a matching model with endogenous job destruction. In our model, higher turbulence reduces the incentives of employed workers to leave their jobs. If turbulence has only a tiny effect on the skills of workers experiencing endogenous separation, then the results of Ljungqvist and Sargent (1998, 2004) are reversed, and higher turbulence leads to a reduction in unemployment. Thus, changes in turbulence cannot provide an explanation for European unemployment that reconciles the incentives of both unemployed and employed workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 142.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:142

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Keywords: Skill loss; European unemployment puzzle;

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  1. den Haan, Wouter J. & Haefke, Christian & Ramey, Garey, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7x3544bn, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. Lawrence Kahn, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(4), pages 25-32, October.
  3. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 1999. "Job Destruction and the Experiences of Displaced Workers," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1rd0w96t, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. Luca Nunziata, 2002. "Unemployment, Labour Market Institutions and Shocks," Economics Papers 2002-W16, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  5. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Working Paper Series 481, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1992. "Unemployment in the OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0081, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Robert E. Hall & Edward P. Lazear, 1982. "The Excess Sensitivity of Layoffs and Quits to Demand," NBER Working Papers 0864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Christopher A. Pissarides & Giovanna Vallanti, 2004. "Productivity Growth and Employment: Theory and Panel Estimates," CEP Discussion Papers dp0663, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Franz, Wolfgang, 1999. "Real and monetary challenges to wage policy in Germany at the turn of the millennium: technical progress, globalization and European Monetary Union," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-48, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-65, April.
  12. Robert E. Hall, 1998. "Labor-Market Frictions and Employment Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 6501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  14. McLaughlin, Kenneth J, 1991. "A Theory of Quits and Layoffs with Efficient Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 1-29, February.
  15. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(2), pages 13-26, October.
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