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Mismatch Unemployment and the Geography of Job Search

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  • Ioana Marinescu
  • Roland Rathelot

Abstract

Could we significantly reduce US unemployment by helping job seekers move closer to jobs? Using data from the leading employment board CareerBuilder.com, we show that, indeed, workers dislike applying to distant jobs: job seekers are 35 percent less likely to apply to a job 10 miles (mi.) away from their zip code of residence. However, because job seekers are close enough to vacancies on average, this distaste for distance is fairly inconsequential: our search and matching model predicts that relocating job seekers to minimize unemployment would decrease unemployment by only 5.3 percent. Geographic mismatch is thus a minor driver of aggregate unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Ioana Marinescu & Roland Rathelot, 2018. "Mismatch Unemployment and the Geography of Job Search," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 42-70, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:42-70
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20160312
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    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
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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