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Do Workers Really Benefit From Their Social Networks?

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  • Fontaine, Francois

    ()
    (University of Nancy)

Abstract

This paper provides a simple matching model in which unemployed workers and employers in large firms can be matched together through social networks or through more "formal" methods of search. We show that networks do not necessarily add new externalities and that some results previously obtained in the literature are questionable. Nevertheless, social networks can, in some case, substitute for labor market and this crowding-out effect may be socially costly. We show that a policy increasing the number of workers embedded in the social networks can increase the unemployment rate and decrease workers welfare. Since it is mostly the firms which benefit from larger social networks, transfers from the firms to the workers are necessary to make larger access to the social networks efficient.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1282.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Recherches Économique de Louvain / Louvan Economic Reivew, 2008, 74 (1), 5-31
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1282

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Keywords: economic policy; matching; social networks; unemployment;

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References

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  1. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1999. "Job Reallocation, Employment Fluctuations and Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0421, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  3. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Job matching, social network and word-of-mouth communication," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 500-522, May.
  4. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage Bargaining with On-the-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 323-364, 03.
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  9. Cahuc, Pierre & Fontaine, François, 2002. "On the Efficiency of Job Search with Social Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 3511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Bentolila, Samuel & Michelacci, Claudio & Suarez, Javier, 2004. "Social Contacts and Occupational Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 4308, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Samuel Bentolila & Andrea Ichino, 2000. "Unemployment and Consumption: Are Job Losses Less Painful near the Mediterranean?," CESifo Working Paper Series 372, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Venkatesh Bala & Sanjeev Goyal, 2000. "A Noncooperative Model of Network Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1181-1230, September.
  13. John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 1998. "Job Search Methods and Outcomes," Working Papers w199808, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  14. Margolis, David N. & Simonnet, Véronique, 2003. "Educational Track, Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 699, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Kugler, Adriana D., 2002. "Employee Referrals and Efficiency Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 3682, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  17. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Simon, Curtis J & Warner, John T, 1992. "Matchmaker, Matchmaker: The Effect of Old Boy Networks on Job Match Quality, Earnings, and Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 306-30, July.
  19. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410, July.
  20. Holzer, Harry J, 1988. "Search Method Use by Unemployed Youth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, January.
  21. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1996. "How Effective Are State Employment Agencies? Jobcentre Use and Job Matching in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(3), pages 443-67, August.
  22. Marmaros, David & Sacerdote, Bruce, 2002. "Peer and social networks in job search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 870-879, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Buhai, Sebastian & van der Leij, Marco, 2006. "A Social Network Analysis of Occupational Segregation," Working Papers 06-11, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Fontaine Francois, 2004. "Why are similar workers paid differently? The role of social networks," Labor and Demography 0408014, EconWPA, revised 09 Sep 2004.
  3. Walter Trockel, 2013. "Robustness of Intermediate Agreements for the Discrete Raiffa Solution," Working Papers 496, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  4. Anna Zaharieva, 2011. "Social Welfare and Wage Inequality in Search Equilibrium with Personal Contacts," Working Papers 459, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  5. Zaharieva, Anna, 2013. "Double Matching: Social Contacts in a Labour Market with On-the-Job Search," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79891, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  6. Sabatini, Fabio, 2005. "Social capital, labour precariousness and the economic performance. An empirical assessment of the strength of weak ties in Italy," AICCON Working Papers 26-2005, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.

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