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Locked in by leverage: Job search during the housing crisis

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  • Brown, Jennifer
  • Matsa, David A.

Abstract

This paper examines how housing market distress affects job search. Using data from a leading online job search platform during the Great Recession, we find that job seekers in areas with depressed housing markets apply for fewer jobs that require relocation. With their search constrained geographically, job seekers broaden their search for lower-level positions nearby. These effects are stronger for job seekers with recourse mortgages, which we confirm using a spatial regression discontinuity analysis. Our findings suggest that housing market distress distorts labor market outcomes by impeding households’ ability to move.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Jennifer & Matsa, David A., 2020. "Locked in by leverage: Job search during the housing crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(3), pages 623-648.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:136:y:2020:i:3:p:623-648
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2019.11.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Elliot Anenberg & Daniel R. Ringo, 2019. "The Propagation of Demand Shocks Through Housing Markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-084, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Karahan, Fatih & Rhee, Serena, 2019. "Geographic reallocation and unemployment during the Great Recession: The role of the housing bust," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 47-69.
    3. Camilla Adams & Jonathan Meer & CarlyWill Sloan, 2018. "The Minimum Wage and Search Effort," NBER Working Papers 25128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hensvik, Lena & Le Barbanchon, Thomas & Rathelot, Roland, 2021. "Job search during the COVID-19 crisis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    5. Carlos Garriga & Aaron Hedlund, 2019. "Crises in the Housing Market: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Lessons," Working Papers 2019-33, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    6. Marcus Moelbak Ingholt, 2017. "House Prices, Geographical Mobility, and Unemployment," Discussion Papers 17-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    7. André Kallåk Anundsen & Bjørnar Karlsen Kivedal & Erling Røed Larsen & Leif Anders Thorsrud, 2020. "Behavioral changes and policy effects during Covid-19," Working Papers No 07/2020, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
    8. Shai Bernstein & Richard R. Townsend & Ting Xu, 2020. "Flight to Safety: How Economic Downturns Affect Talent Flows to Startups," NBER Working Papers 27907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing market; Mortgage debt; Job search; Labor mobility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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