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Turbulence and Unemployment in a Job Matching Model

  • Wouter J. Den Haan
  • Christian Haefke
  • Garey Ramey

According to Ljungqvist and Sargent (1998), high European unemployment since the 1980s can be explained by a rise in economic turbulence, leading to greater numbers of unemployed workers with obsolete skills. These workers refuse new jobs due to high unemployment benefits. In this paper we reassess the turbulence-unemployment relationship using a matching model with endogenous job destruction. In our model, higher turbulence reduces the incentives of employed workers to leave their jobs. If turbulence has only a tiny effect on the skills of workers experiencing endogenous separation, then the results of Ljungqvist and Sargent (1998, 2004) are reversed, and higher turbulence leads to a reduction in unemployment. Thus, changes in turbulence cannot provide an explanation for European unemployment that reconciles the incentives of both unemployed and employed workers.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 142.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:142
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  1. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1996. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 36, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  2. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1992. "Unemployment in the OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0081, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. den Haan, Wouter J. & Ramey, Garey & Watson, Joel, 2000. "Job destruction and the experiences of displaced workers," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 87-128, June.
  4. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  5. Robert E. Hall & Edward P. Lazear, 1982. "The Excess Sensitivity of Layoffs and Quits to Demand," NBER Working Papers 0864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  7. Christopher Pissarides & Giovanna Vallanti, 2004. "Productivity growth and employment: theory and panel estimates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2189, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(2), pages 13-26, October.
  9. Hall, Robert E., 1999. "Labor-market frictions and employment fluctuations," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 17, pages 1137-1170 Elsevier.
  10. Den Haan, Wouter & Haefke, Christian & Ramey, Gary, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 2970, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Lawrence Kahn, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(4), pages 25-32, October.
  12. Luca Nunziata, 2002. "Unemployment, Labour Market Institutions and Shocks," Economics Series Working Papers 2002-W16, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Wolfgang Franz, 1999. "Real and Monetary Challenges to Wage Policy in Germany at the Turn of the Millennium: Technical Progress, Globalization and European Monetary Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 200, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-65, April.
  15. McLaughlin, Kenneth J, 1991. "A Theory of Quits and Layoffs with Efficient Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 1-29, February.
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