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More on Unemployment and Vacancy Fluctuations

  • Dale Mortensen

    (Northwestern University)

  • Eva Nagypal

    (Northwestern University)

Shimer (2005a) argues that the textbook equilibrium search model of unemployment explains less than 10% of the volatility in U.S. vacancies and unemployment when fluctuations are driven by productivity shocks. His paper as well as other recent work inspired by it are reviewed and extended here. Although there seems to be excessive feedback from the job-finding rate to the wage built into the Nash bargaining mechanism assumed to determine wages in the model, we argue that he and others overemphasize the need for wage rigidity to explain the data on labor-market fluctuations. Indeed, a modified version of the model can explain the magnitude of the empirical relationship between the vacancy-unemployment ratio and labor productivity when wages are the outcome of a strategic bargaining game and when the elasticity of the matching function and the opportunity cost of a match are set at reasonable values. The modified model also explains almost two thirds of the volatility in the ratio relative to that of productivity when separation shocks are taken into account, as well as the strong negative correlation between vacancies and unemployment found in Shimer's data. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 327-347

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:06-123
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  1. Barbara Petrongolo & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Looking Into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," CEP Discussion Papers dp0470, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-Job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 457-75, July.
  3. 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.
  4. Giuseppe Moscarini, 2005. "Job Matching and the Wage Distribution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 481-516, 03.
  5. Robert E. Hall & Paul R. Milgrom, 2007. "The Limited Influence of Unemployment on the Wage Bargain," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000135, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Devine, Theresa J. & Kiefer, Nicolas M., 1991. "Empirical Labor Economics: The Search Approach," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195059366.
  7. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2007. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," IEW - Working Papers 351, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. John Kennan, 2010. "Private Information, Wage Bargaining and Employment Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 633-664.
  10. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, February.
  12. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "Job reallocation, employment fluctuations and unemployment," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1171-1228 Elsevier.
  13. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
  14. Robert Shimer, 2004. "The Consequences of Rigid Wages in Search Models," NBER Working Papers 10326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  16. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  17. Shimer, Robert, 2006. "On-the-job search and strategic bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 811-830, May.
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