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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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  1. Alex Bryson & Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora, 2003. "Does union membership really reduce job satisfaction?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20045, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1996. "How Effective Are State Employment Agencies? Jobcentre Use and Job Matching in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(3), pages 443-67, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Working Paper Series 1998:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  13. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2002. "Marketization of Production and the US-Europe Employment Gap," NBER Working Papers 8797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
  15. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  16. Burdett, Kenneth & Coles, Melvyn G & van Ours, Jan C, 1994. "Temporal Aggregation Bias in Stock-Flow Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 967, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Coles, Melvyn G & Smith, Eric, 1998. "Marketplaces and Matching," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 239-54, February.
  18. Katharine G. Abraham, 1987. "Help-Wanted Advertising, Job Vacancies, and Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(1), pages 207-248.
  19. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
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  21. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "The Long Side of the Market and the Short End of the Stick: Bargaining Power and Price Formation in Buyers', Sellers', and Balanced Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 837-55, August.
  22. Coles, Melvyn G & Muthoo, Abhinay, 1998. "Strategic Bargaining and Competitive Bidding in a Dynamic Market Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 235-60, April.
  23. Coles, Melvyn G, 1999. "Turnover Externalities with Marketplace Trading," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 851-68, November.
  24. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  25. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
  26. 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.
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