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Real-Time Search in the Laboratory and the Market

Author

Listed:
  • Meta Brown
  • Christopher J. Flinn
  • Andrew Schotter

Abstract

While widely accepted labor market search models imply a constant reservation wage policy, empirical evidence strongly suggests that reservation wages decline in search duration. This paper reports the results of the first real-time-search laboratory experiment. The controlled environment subjects face is stationary, and the payoff-maximizing reservation wage is constant. Nevertheless, subjects' reservation wages decline sharply over time. We investigate two hypotheses to explain this decline: 1. Searchers respond to the stock of accruing search costs. 2. Searchers experience non-stationary subjective costs of time spent searching. Our data support the latter hypothesis, and we substantiate this conclusion both experimentally and econometrically. (JEL C91, D83, J64)

Suggested Citation

  • Meta Brown & Christopher J. Flinn & Andrew Schotter, 2011. "Real-Time Search in the Laboratory and the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 948-974, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:2:p:948-74
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John C. Ham & Xianghong Li & Lara Shore-Sheppard, 2009. "Seam Bias, Multiple-State, Multiple-Spell Duration Models and the Employment Dynamics of Disadvantaged Women," NBER Working Papers 15151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ham, John C & Rea, Samuel A, Jr, 1987. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 325-353, July.
    3. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
    4. Ham, John C. & Kagel, John H. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2005. "Randomization, endogeneity and laboratory experiments: the role of cash balances in private value auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 175-205.
    5. Schotter, Andrew & Braunstein, Yale M, 1981. "Economic Search: An Experimental Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(1), pages 1-25, January.
    6. Addison, John T & Portugal, Pedro, 1987. "On the Distributional Shape of Unemployment Duration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 521-526, August.
    7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    8. Korpi, Tomas, 1995. "Effects of Manpower Policies on Duration Dependence in Re-employment Rates: The Example of Sweden," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(247), pages 353-371, August.
    9. Flinn, C. & Heckman, J., 1982. "New methods for analyzing structural models of labor force dynamics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 115-168, January.
    10. Bergstrom, R & Edin, P-A, 1992. "Time Aggregation and the Distributional Shape of Unemployment Duration," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(1), pages 5-30, Jan.-Marc.
    11. Cox, James C & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1989. "Laboratory Experiments with a Finite-Horizon Job-Search Model," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 301-329, September.
    12. S. C. Salop, 1973. "Systematic Job Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(2), pages 191-201.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. McGee, Andrew & McGee, Peter, 2016. "Search, effort, and locus of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 89-101.
    2. Tasneem, Dina & Engle-Warnick, Jim & Benchekroun, Hassan, 2017. "An experimental study of a common property renewable resource game in continuous time," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 91-119.
    3. Nicolas Jacquemet & Olivier L’Haridon & Isabelle Vialle, 2014. "Marché du travail, évaluation et économie expérimentale," Revue française d'économie, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 189-226.
    4. John K. Dagsvik & Tom Kornstad & Terje Skjerpen, 2016. "Discouraged worker effects and barriers against employment for immigrant and non-immigrant women," Discussion Papers 845, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. Charles Bellemare & Steeve Marchand & Bruce Shearer, 2016. "Structural Estimation and Experiments: Applications to Contracting Models," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 172(2), pages 342-363, June.
    6. Dmitry Ryvkin & Danila Serra, 2015. "Is more competition always better? An experimental study of extortionary corruption," Working Papers wp2015_10_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    7. Nakajima, Daisuke & Masatlioglu, Yusufcan, 2013. "Choice by iterative search," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.
    8. Inukai, Keigo & Kawata, Keisuke & Sasaki, Masaru, 2017. "Committee Search with Ex-ante Heterogeneous Agents: Theory and Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 10760, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Marianna Kudlyak & Damba Lkhagvasuren & Roman Sysuyev, 2012. "Sorting by skill over the course of job search," Working Paper 12-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    10. Paul Viefers & Philipp Strack, 2014. "Too Proud to Stop: Regret in Dynamic Decisions," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1401, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    11. Takao Asano & Hiroko Okudaira & Masaru Sasaki, 2015. "An experimental test of a search model under ambiguity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(4), pages 627-637, December.
    12. Le Barbanchon, Thomas, 2016. "The effect of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on unemployment exits to work and match quality in France," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 16-29.
    13. Boğaçhan Çelen & Erkut Özbay, 2012. "Introduction to a festschrift for Andrew Schotter," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 16(2), pages 89-91, September.
    14. repec:smu:ecowpa:1301 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Takao Asano & Hiroko Okudaira & Masaru Sasaki, 2015. "An Experimental Test of a Search Model under Ambiguity," KIER Working Papers 913, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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