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Shopping Externalities and Self-Fulfilling Unemployment Fluctuations

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Author Info

  • Greg Kaplan

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Princeton University)

  • Guido Menzio

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

We propose a novel theory of self-fulfilling fluctuations in the labor market. A firm employing an additional worker generates positive externalities on other firms, because employed workers have more income to spend and have less time to shop for low prices than unemployed workers. We quantify these shopping externalities and show that they are sufficiently strong to create strategic complementarities in the employment decisions of different firms and to generate multiple rational expectations equilibria. Equilibria differ with respect to the agents’ (rational) expectations about future unemployment. We show that negative shocks to agents’ expectations lead to fluctuations in vacancies, unemployment, labor productivity and the stock market that closely resemble those observed in the US during the Great Recession.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 12-048.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: 12 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:12-048

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Keywords: Self-fulfilling fluctuations; strategic complementarity; unemployment;

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References

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  1. Butters, Gerard R, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 465-91, October.
  2. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
  3. Boldrin, Michele & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A dynamic equilibrium model of search, production, and exchange," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 723-758.
  4. Jess Benhabib & Pengfei Wang & Yi Wen, 2012. "Sentiments and aggregate demand fluctuations," Working Papers 2012-039, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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  8. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2004. "Were there regime switches in U.S. monetary policy?," Working Paper 2004-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  9. Roger E.A. Farmer & Jang Ting Guo, 1992. "Real Business Cycles and the Animal Spirits Hypothesis," UCLA Economics Working Papers 680, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1988. "Multiple Expectational Equilibria under Monopolistic Competition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 695-713, November.
  11. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas Mueller, 2008. "Job Search and Unemployment Insurance: New Evidence from Time Use Data," Working Papers 1093, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  12. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2013. "Time Use during the Great Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1664-96, August.
  13. Samuel Bentolila & Andrea Ichino, 2008. "Unemployment and consumption near and far away from the Mediterranean," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 255-280, April.
  14. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  15. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  16. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
  17. Benhabib Jess & Farmer Roger E. A., 1994. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 19-41, June.
  18. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  19. Melvin Stephens, 2001. "The Long-Run Consumption Effects Of Earnings Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 28-36, February.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The unemployed should shop less for bargains, and they would not be unemployed
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-01-28 15:20:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Michaillat, Pascal & Saez, Emmanuel, 2013. "A Model of Aggregate Demand and Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 9609, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Greg Kaplan & Guido Menzio, 2014. "The Morphology of Price Dispersion," PIER Working Paper Archive 14-002, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Sniekers, F.J.T., 2013. "Endogenous Beveridge cycles and the volatility of unemployment," CeNDEF Working Papers 13-12, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
  4. Zhen Huo & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2013. "Paradox of Thrift Recessions," NBER Working Papers 19443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Greg Kaplan & Guido Menzio, 2013. "The Research Agenda: Greg Kaplan and Guido Menzio on the Macroeconomics of Bargain Hunting," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(2), November.
  6. Emmanuel Saez & Pascal Michaillat, 2013. "A Theory of Aggregate Supply and Aggregate Demand as Functions of Market Tightness with Prices as Parameters," 2013 Meeting Papers 1216, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Martin Gervais & Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu & Yaniv Yedid-Levi, 2013. "Technological Learning and Labor Market Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 19767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bonilla, Roberto & Kiraly, Francis, 2013. "Marriage wage premium in a search equilibrium," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 107-115.

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