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What Drives Job Search? Evidence from Google Search Data

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Author Info

  • Scott Baker

    ()
    (Economics Department, Stanford University)

  • Andrey Fradkin

    ()
    (Economics Department, Stanford University)

Abstract

The large-scale unemployment caused by the Great Recession has necessitated unprecedented increases in the duration of unemployment insurance (UI). While it is clear that the weekly payments are beneficial to recipients, workers receiving benefits have less incentive to engage in job search and accept job offers. We construct a job search activity index based on Google data which provides the first high-frequency, state-specific measure of job search activity. We demonstrate the validity of our measure by benchmarking it against the American Time Use Survey and the comScore Web-User Panel, and also by showing that it varies with hypothesized drivers of search activity. We test for search activity responses to policy shifts and changes in the distribution of unemployment benefit duration. We find that search activity is greater when a claimant's UI benefits near exhaustion. Furthermore, search activity responses to the passage of bills that increase unemployment benefits duration are negative but short-lived in most specifications. Using daily data, we estimate that an increase by 1% of the population of unemployed receiving additional benefits results in a decrease in aggregate search activity of 1.7% lasting only one week.

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File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/10-020.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 10-020.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:10-020

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Related research

Keywords: Job Search; Unemployment; Unemployent Insurance; Moral Hazard; Internet Search;

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References

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  1. Betsey Stevenson, 2009. "The Internet and Job Search," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 67-86 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. D'Amuri, Francesco/FD & Marcucci, Juri/JM, 2009. ""Google it!" Forecasting the US unemployment rate with a Google job search index," MPRA Paper 18248, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez & Camille Landais, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. 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.
  5. Kuhn, Peter J. & Skuterud, Mikal, 2002. "Internet Job Search and Unemployment Durations," IZA Discussion Papers 613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Torsten Schmidt & Simeon Vosen, 2012. "Using Internet Data to Account for Special Events in Economic Forecasting," Ruhr Economic Papers 0382, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  2. Francesco D'Amuri & Juri Marcucci, 2012. "The predictive power of Google searches in forecasting unemployment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 891, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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