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Search costs and efficiency: Do unemployed workers search enough?

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  • Gautier, Pieter A.
  • Moraga-González, José L.
  • Wolthoff, Ronald P.

Abstract

Many labor market policies affect the marginal benefits and costs of job search. The impact and desirability of such policies depend on the distribution of search costs. In this paper, we provide an equilibrium framework for identifying the distribution of search costs and we apply it to the Dutch labor market. In our model, the wage distribution, job search intensities, and firm entry are simultaneously determined in market equilibrium. Given the distribution of search intensities (which we directly observe), we calibrate the search cost distribution and the flow value of non-market time; these values are then used to derive the socially optimal firm entry rates and distribution of job search intensities. From a social point of view, some unemployed workers search too little due to a hold-up problem, while other unemployed workers search too much due to coordination frictions and rent-seeking behavior. Our results indicate that jointly increasing unemployment benefits and the sanctions for unemployed workers who do not search at all can be welfare-improving.

Suggested Citation

  • Gautier, Pieter A. & Moraga-González, José L. & Wolthoff, Ronald P., 2016. "Search costs and efficiency: Do unemployed workers search enough?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 123-139.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:84:y:2016:i:c:p:123-139
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2015.04.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Cai, Xiaoming & Gautier, Pieter A. & Wolthoff, Ronald P., 2017. "Search frictions, competing mechanisms and optimal market segmentation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 453-473.
    2. Serdar Birinci & Kurt See & Shu Lin Wee, 2020. "Job Applications and Labor Market Flows," Working Papers 2020-023, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 16 Aug 2021.
    3. Meier, Mario & Obermeier, Tim, 2017. "Employer Screening, Unemployment Stigma and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," EconStor Preprints 148303, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    4. Donna, Javier D. & Schenone, Pablo & Veramendi, Gregory F., 2020. "Networks, frictions, and price dispersion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 406-431.
    5. Xiaoming Cai & Pieter Gautier & Ronald Wolthoff, 2015. "Inclusive versus Exclusive Markets: Search Frictions and Competing Mechanisms," Working Papers tecipa-545, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    6. Ronald Wolthoff, 2018. "Applications and Interviews: Firms’ Recruiting Decisions in a Frictional Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(2), pages 1314-1351.
    7. Atayev, Atabek, 2021. "Uncertain product availability in search markets," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-089, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job search; Search cost heterogeneity; Labor market frictions; Wage dispersion; Welfare;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

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