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Do Matching Frictions Explain Unemployment? Not in Bad Times

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  • Pascal Michaillat

Abstract

This paper proposes a search-and-matching model of unemployment in which jobs are rationed: the labor market does not clear in the absence of matching frictions. This job shortage arises in an economic equilibrium from the combination of some wage rigidity and diminishing marginal returns to labor. In recessions, job rationing is acute, driving the rise in unemployment, whereas matching frictions contribute little to unemployment. Intuitively in recessions, jobs are lacking, the labor market is slack, and recruiting is easy and inexpensive, so matching frictions do not matter much. In a calibrated model, cyclical fluctuations in the composition of unemployment are large.

Suggested Citation

  • Pascal Michaillat, 2012. "Do Matching Frictions Explain Unemployment? Not in Bad Times," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1721-1750, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:4:p:1721-50
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    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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