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The empirical content of the job search model: Labor mobility and wage distributions in Europe and the US

  • Jolivet, Gregory
  • Postel-Vinay, Fabien
  • Robin, Jean-Marc

Job search models of the labor market hypothesize a very tight correspondence between the determinants of labor turnover and individual wage dynamics on one hand, and the determinants of wage dispersion on the other. This paper offers a systematic examination of whether this correspondence is present in the data by estimating a rudimentary partial equilibrium job search model on a 3-year panel of individual worker data covering 10 European countries and the U.S. We find that our basic job search model fits the data surprisingly well. This also allows us to point at a number of interesting empirical regularities about wage distributions. Our results suggest that cross-sectional data on individual wages contain the basic information needed to obtain a reliable measure of the "magnitude of labor market frictions", as measured by a parameter of the canonical job search model. Finally, we use our results in a cross-country comparison of the intensity and nature of job-to-job turnover. We arrange countries into two different groups according to their turnover intensity. We further show that the nature of job-to-job turnover is very different between those two groups: Turnover is predominantly voluntary in low-turnover countries, whereas it is to a large extent involuntary in high-turnover countries.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 50 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 877-907

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:50:y:2006:i:4:p:877-907
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  1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  2. StÈphane Bonhomme & GrÈgory Jolivet, 2009. "The pervasive absence of compensating differentials," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 763-795.
  3. Margaret Stevens, 2004. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 535-551, 04.
  4. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2004. "To Match or Not to Match? Optimal Wage Policy With Endogenous Worker Search Intensity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(2), pages 297-330, April.
  5. Coles, Melvyn G & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2002. "A Test Between Unemployment Theories Using Matching Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 3241, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Ridder, Geert & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Measuring Labor Market Frictions: A Cross-Country Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Bent Jesper Christensen & Rasmus Lentz & Dale T. Mortensen & George R. Neumann & Axel Werwatz, 2003. "On the Job Search and the Wage Distribution," CAM Working Papers 2004-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  8. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  9. Hwang, Hae-shin & Mortensen, Dale T & Reed, W Robert, 1998. "Hedonic Wages and Labor Market Search," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 815-47, October.
  10. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher, 1999. "New Developments in Models of Search in the Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1990. "Nonstationarity in Job Search Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 255-77, April.
  12. repec:inr:wpaper:155908 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Bontemps, C. & Robin, J.M. & van den Berg, G.J., 1998. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Non-Parametric Estimation," Papers 98-07, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  14. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
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