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A Test Between Unemployment Theories Using Matching Data

  • Melvyn Coles
  • Barbara Petrongolo

This paper tests whether aggregate matching is consistent with unemployment being mainly due to search frictions or due to job queues. Using U.K. data and correcting for temporal aggregation bias, estimates of the random matching function are consistent with previous work in this field, but random matching is formally rejected by the data. The data instead support 'stock-flow' matching. Estimates find that around 40 per cent of newly unemployed workers match quickly - they are interpreted as being on the short-side of their skill markets. The remaining workers match slowly, their re-employment rates depending statistically on the inflow of new vacancies and not on the vacancy stock. Having failed to match with existing vacancies, these workers wait for the arrival of new job vacancies. The results have important policy implications, particularly with reference to the design of optimal unemployment insurance programs.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0570.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0570
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  6. Petrongolo, Barbara & Pissarides, Christopher, 2000. "Looking Into The Black Box: A Survey Of The Matching Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 2409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  14. Berman, Eli, 1997. "Help Wanted, Job Needed: Estimates of a Matching Function from Employment Service Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S251-92, January.
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  17. Coles, Melvyn G & Smith, Eric, 1994. "Marketplaces and Matching," CEPR Discussion Papers 1048, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Working Paper Series 1998:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  19. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 893-928, October.
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  22. Cahuc, Pierre & Lehmann, Etienne, 2000. "Should unemployment benefits decrease with the unemployment spell?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 135-153, July.
  23. Hopenhayn, H. & Nicolini, P.J., 1996. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," RCER Working Papers 421, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  24. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
  25. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
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