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Business Cycles, Unemployment Insurance, and the Calibration of Matching Models

Author

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  • James S. Costain
  • Michael Reiter

Abstract

This paper points out an empirical failing of real business cycle models in which unemployment is endogenized through a matching function. One can easily choose a calibration to make the cyclical fluctuation in unemployment as large in the model as it is in the data, or to make the response of unemployment to a change in the unemployment benefit as small in the model as it is in the data. We show with a simple analytical calculation that in the standard job matching model, one cannot do both: improving the fit along one dimension makes it worse along the other. This conclusion is robust to the inclusion of capital, variable search intensity, variable match separation, or efficiency wages. We also propose two possible resolutions of the problem. Both sticky wages and embodied technological progress raise the business cycle variability of unemployment, without greatly changing the effects of policies, because they both make the flow of surplus to the firm more procyclical.

Suggested Citation

  • James S. Costain & Michael Reiter, 2003. "Business Cycles, Unemployment Insurance, and the Calibration of Matching Models," CESifo Working Paper Series 1008, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1008
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp1008.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Philip, Jung & Moritz, Kuhn, 2011. "The Era of the U.S.-Europe Labor Market Divide: What can we learn?," MPRA Paper 32322, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Di Pace, F. & Faccini, R., 2012. "Deep habits and the cyclical behaviour of equilibrium unemployment and vacancies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 183-200.
    3. Leena Rudanko, 2011. "Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk in a Frictional Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2823-2843, October.
    4. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim & Mark Bils, 2007. "Comparative Advantage in Cyclical Unemployment," 2007 Meeting Papers 508, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Mark Gertler & Antonella Trigari, 2009. "Unemployment Fluctuations with Staggered Nash Wage Bargaining," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(1), pages 38-86, February.
    6. Robert Shimer, 2004. "The Consequences of Rigid Wages in Search Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 469-479, 04/05.
    7. Richard Rogerson & Lodewijk P. Visschers & Randall Wright, 2009. "Labor market fluctuations in the small and in the large," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 5(1), pages 125-137, March.
    8. Hertweck Matthias Sebastian, 2013. "Strategic wage bargaining, labor market volatility, and persistence," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-27, October.
    9. repec:zbw:cfswop:wp200709 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2008. "Cyclical Wages in a Search-and-Bargaining Model with Large Firms," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2006, pages 65-114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Anton Cheremukhin, 2010. "Labor Matching Model: Putting the Pieces Together," 2010 Meeting Papers 260, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Yashiv, Eran, 2007. "Labor search and matching in macroeconomics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1859-1895, November.
    14. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2011. "Worker Heterogeneity and Endogenous Separations in a Matching Model of Unemployment Fluctuations," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 128-154, January.
    15. Melvyn Coles, 2005. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in a Matching Equilibrium: The Role of Congestion and Thick-Market Externalities," Working Papers 206, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    16. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim & Mark Bils, 2009. "Comparative Advantage and Aggregate Unemployment," 2009 Meeting Papers 11, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Michael Reiter, 2008. "Embodied Technical Change and the Fluctuations of Unemployment and Wages," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(4), pages 695-721, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    real business cycles; matching function; unemployment insurance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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