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Housing and the Labor Market: Time to Move and Aggregate Unemployment

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  • Rupert, Peter
  • Wasmer, Etienne

Abstract

The Mortensen-Pissarides model with unemployment benefits and taxes has been able to account for the variation in unemployment rates across countries but does not explain why geographical mobility is very low in some countries (on average, three times lower in Europe than in the U.S.). We build a model in which both unemployment and mobility rates are endogenous. Our findings indicate that an increase in unemployment benefits and in taxes does not generate a strong decline in mobility and accounts for only half to two-thirds of the difference in unemployment from the U.S. to Europe. We find that with higher commuting costs the effect of housing frictions plays a large role and can generate a substantial decline in mobility. We show that such frictions can account for the differences in unemployment and mobility between the U.S. and Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Rupert, Peter & Wasmer, Etienne, 2009. "Housing and the Labor Market: Time to Move and Aggregate Unemployment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt1bv529kn, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt1bv529kn
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Rogers, Cynthia L., 1997. "Job Search and Unemployment Duration: Implications for the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 109-132, July.
    3. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
    4. Peter Ruppert & Elena Stancanelli & Etienne Wasmer, 2009. "Commuting, Wages and Bargaining Power," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 95-96, pages 201-220.
    5. Fujita,Masahisa, 1991. "Urban Economic Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521396455, March.
    6. Leiderman,Leonardo & Razin,Assaf (ed.), 2010. "Capital Mobility," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521142731, May.
    7. Jos van Ommeren & Gerard J. van den Berg & Cees Gorter, 2000. "Estimating the Marginal Willingness to Pay for Commuting," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 541-563.
    8. Zax, Jeffrey S & Kain, John F, 1996. "Moving to the Suburbs: Do Relocating Companies Leave Their Black Employees Behind?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 472-504, July.
    9. Gaumont, Damien & Schindler, Martin & Wright, Randall, 2006. "Alternative theories of wage dispersion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 831-848, May.
    10. Wasmer, Etienne & Zenou, Yves, 2002. "Does City Structure Affect Job Search and Welfare?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 515-541, May.
    11. repec:adr:anecst:y:2009:i:95-96:p:11 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    commuting; search model; Social and Behavioral Sciences;

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General

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