Job Search and Hyperbolic Discounting: Structural Estimation and Policy Evaluation
AbstractJob search is an unpleasant activity with immediate costs and delayed benefits. The tension between long-run goals and short-run impulses may lead unemployed workers to postpone repeatedly tasks necessary to find a job. In standard economic models, agents are assumed to be time-consistent, so that a contrast between short-run and long-run preferences never arises. However, a growing literature has challenged the conventional view, and allows agents to be time inconsistent by modeling their discount function as hyperbolic (as opposed to the standard assumption of exponential discounting). Agents with hyperbolic discount functions exhibit a high degree of discounting in the short run, but a relatively low degree of discounting in the long run. Therefore, hyperbolic agents are likely to delay tasks with immediate costs and delayed benefits, whereas they would choose to perform the same task if both costs and benefits were to occur in the future. This paper estimates the structural parameters of a job search model with hyperbolic discounting and endogenous search effort. It estimates quantitatively the degree of hyperbolic discounting, and assesses its implications for the impact of various policy interventions aimed at reducing unemployment. The model is estimated using data on unemployment spells and accepted wages from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). The likelihood function explicitly incorporates all the restrictions implied by the optimal dynamic programming solution to the model, and also accounts for both observed and unobserved heterogeneity. The parameters of the hyperbolic discount function are separately identified because different forms of discounting have contrasting effects on the different components of the job search process. The results point to a substantial degree of hyperbolic discounting, especially for low and medium wage workers. The structural estimates are also used to evaluate alternative policy interventions for the unemployed: a cut in unemployment benefits, a job search assistance program, monitoring search effort, monitoring the job acceptance strategy, and a re-employment bonus. I find that ignoring hyperbolic preferences may lead one to incorrect inferences on the effects of these interventions.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 99.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
More information through EDIRC
Job Search; Hyperbolic Discounting; Structural Estimation;
Other versions of this item:
- M. Daniele Paserman, 2008. "Job Search and Hyperbolic Discounting: Structural Estimation and Policy Evaluation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1418-1452, 08.
- Paserman, Daniele, 2004. "Job Search and Hyperbolic Discounting: Structural Estimation and Policy Evaluation," IZA Discussion Papers 997, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Paserman, Marco Daniele, 2004. "Job Search and Hyperbolic Discounting: Structural Estimation and Policy Evaluation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
- D90 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - General
- J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
- J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-10-21 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000.
"A Debt Puzzle,"
NBER Working Papers
7879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Orley Ashenfelter & David Ashmore & Olivier Deschenes, 1998.
"Do Unemployment Insurance Recipients Actively Seek Work? Randomized Trials in Four U.S. States,"
791, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Orley Ashenfelter & David Ashmore & Olivier Deschenes, 1999. "Do Unemployment Insurance Recipients Actively Seek Work? Randomized Trials in Four U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 6982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Oswald, Andrew J, 1997.
"Happiness and Economic Performance,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
- Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
- Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
- Jonathan Gruber & Botond Koszegi, 2000. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2009.
"Time-Inconsistency And Welfare Program Participation: Evidence From The Nlsy,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1043-1077, November.
- Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2007. "Time-Inconsistency and Welfare Program Participation: Evidence from the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 13375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2004. "Time-inconsistency and Welfare Program Participation: Evidence from the NLSY," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1465, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
- 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.
- Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
- Lancaster, Tony, 1997. "Exact Structural Inference in Optimal Job-Search Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(2), pages 165-79, April.
- Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw & Jan C. van Ours, 1998.
"Punitive Sanctions and the Transition Rate from Welfare to Work,"
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers
98-076/3, Tinbergen Institute.
- Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw & Jan C. van Ours, 2004. "Punitive Sanctions and the Transition Rate from Welfare to Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 211-241, January.
- van den Berg, Gerard J & van der Klaauw, Bas & van Ours, Jan C, 2000. "Punitive Sanctions and the Transition Rate From Welfare to Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 2447, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Berg, Gerard J. van den & Klaauw, Bas van der & Ours, Jan C. van, 1998. "Punitive sanctions and the transition rate from welfare to work," Serie Research Memoranda 0033, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
- Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
- Ted O' Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001.
"Choice and Procrastination,"
- O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2000. "Choice and Procrastination," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5r26k54p, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Ted O' Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Choice and Procrastination," Economics Working Papers E00-281, University of California at Berkeley.
- Burdett, Kenneth & Ondrich, Jan I, 1985. "How Changes in Labor Demand Affect Unemployed Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-10, January.
- Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt & Seth D. Harris & Orley Lobel (ed.), Labor and Employment Law and Economics, volume 2, pages 480-516 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
- Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997.
"Doing It Now or Later,"
Economics Working Papers
97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Woodbury, Stephen A & Spiegelman, Robert G, 1987. "Bonuses to Workers and Employers to Reduce Unemployment: Randomized Trials in Illinois," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 513-30, September.
- repec:rus:hseeco:93730 is not listed on IDEAS
- Berg, G.J. van den, 1987.
"Nonstationarity in job search theory,"
242, Tilburg University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
- Gary Koop & Dale J. Poirier, 2001. "Testing for optimality in job search models," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 4(2), pages 6.
- Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 1999.
"Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1886, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- George-Marios Angeletos, 2001. "The Hyberbolic Consumption Model: Calibration, Simulation, and Empirical Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 47-68, Summer.
- Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
- Stephen A. Woodbury & Robert G. Spiegelman, . "Bonuses to Workers and Employers to Reduce unemployment: Randomized Trials in Illinois," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles sawrgs1987, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
- Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-68, September.
- Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1990. "Job Search Outcomes for the Employed and Unemployed," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 637-55, June.
- David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.