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The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies – A Comment

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  • Simon Burgess
  • Helene Turon

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Abstract

The Mortensen-Pissarides model is an attractive model because it is tractable, delivers some intuitive comparative statics and permits policy analysis. However, Shimer (2005) shows that the model generates far too little volatility in its key variables - unemployment and vacancies - relative to the variation in the shock variables. Shimer identifes the flexibility of wages as the key issue. In this Comment, we show that it is possible to generate suffcient volatility in unemployment and vacancies whilst retaining the standard wage determination process. We set out a model with two important changes from the Mortensen-Pissarides approach: job search by the employed is allowed, and the vacancy creation condition is changed to allow churning of workers. Calibrating the model to UK data, we show that our model can produce volatility in the unemployment and vacancy series to match the data; we confirm for the UK that the Mortensen-Pissarides model cannot, as shown by Shimer for the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Burgess & Helene Turon, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies – A Comment," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 05/573, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:05/573
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephen Nickell & Patricia Jones & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "A Picture of Job Insecurity Facing British Men," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 1-27, January.
    2. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
    3. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
    4. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    5. 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.
    6. Eriksson, Stefan & Gottfries, Nils, 2005. "Ranking of job applicants, on-the-job search, and persistent unemployment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 407-428, June.
    7. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "New developments in models of search in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 2567-2627 Elsevier.
    8. Burgess, Simon & Turon, Hélène, 2010. "Worker flows, job flows and unemployment in a matching model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 393-408, April.
    9. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 457-475.
    10. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    11. Burgess, Simon M, 1993. "A Model of Competition between Unemployed and Employed Job Searchers: An Application to the Unemployment Outflow Rate in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1190-1204, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment; on-the-job search; worker flows; job flows; matching.;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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