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Search and Rest Unemployment

  • Fernando Alvarez
  • Robert Shimer

This paper extends Lucas and Prescott’s (1974) search model to develop a notion of rest unemployment. The economy consists of a continuum of labor markets, each of which produces a heterogeneous good. There is a constant returns to scale production technology in each labor market, but labor productivity is continually hit by idiosyncratic shocks, inducing the costly reallocation of workers across labor markets. Under some conditions, some workers may be rest-unemployed, waiting for local labor market conditions to improve, rather than engaged in time consuming search. The model has distinct notions of unemployment (moving to a new labor market or waiting for labor market conditions to improve) and inactivity (enjoying leisure while disconnected from the labor market). We obtain closed-form expressions for key aggregate variables and use them to evaluate the model. Quantitatively, we find that in the U.S. economy many more people may be in rest unemployment than in search unemployment.

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 79 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 75-122

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:79:y:2011:i:1:p:75-122
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  14. R. Jason Faberman, 2003. "Job Flows and Establishment Characteristics: Variations Across U.S. Metropolitan Areas," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-609, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  15. Scott Schuh & Robert K. Triest, 2000. "Role of firms in job creation and destruction in U.S. manufacturing," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 29-44.
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  17. Loungani, Prakash & Rogerson, Richard, 1989. "Cyclical fluctuations and sectoral reallocation : Evidence from the PSID," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 259-273, March.
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