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Unemployment Cycles

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  • Jan Eeckhout
  • Ilse Lindenlaub

Abstract

The labor market by itself can create cyclical outcomes, even in the absence of exogenous shocks. We propose a theory in which the search behavior of the employed has profound aggregate implications for the unemployed. There is a strategic complementarity between active on-the-job search and vacancy posting by firms, which leads to multiple equilibria: in the presence of sorting, active on-the-job search improves the quality of the pool of searchers. This encourages vacancy posting, which in turn makes costly on-the-job search more attractive—a self-fulfilling equilibrium. The model provides a rationale for the Jobless Recovery, the outward shift of the Beveridge curve during the boom and for pro-cyclical frictional wage dispersion. Central to the model's mechanism is the fact that the employed crowd out the unemployed when on-the-job search picks up during recovery. We also illustrate this mechanism in a stylized calibration exercise.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Eeckhout & Ilse Lindenlaub, 2019. "Unemployment Cycles," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 175-234, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:11:y:2019:i:4:p:175-234
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20180105
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    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert E. Hall & Marianna Kudlyak, 2022. "Why Has the US Economy Recovered So Consistently from Every Recession in the Past 70 Years?," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 1-55.
    2. Patrick M. Crowley & David Hudgins, 2021. "Okun’s law revisited in the time–frequency domain: introducing unemployment into a wavelet-based control model," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 61(5), pages 2635-2662, November.
    3. Jan Eeckhout & Alireza Sepahsalari, 2020. "The Effect of Wealth on Worker Productivity," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 20/731, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    4. Bradley, Jake, 2022. "Worker-Firm Screening and the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 15017, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Hassan Molana & Catia Montagna & George E. Onwordi, 2021. "De-Globalization, Welfare State Reforms and Labor Market Outcomes," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 69(4), pages 624-655, December.

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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
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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

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