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A Test Between Unemployment Theories Using Matching Data

  • Coles, Melvyn G
  • Petrongolo, Barbara

A new methodology is described which tests between various equilibrium theories of unemployment using matching data. The Paper shows how to correct econometrically for temporal aggregation effects, where the econometrician’s aim is to identify a matching process using data which is recorded monthly, and also shows how to identify different unemployment theories on the data. As implementing this test requires information on the inflow of new vacancies over time, this Paper uses employment agency data for the UK over the period 1985-99. Although the standard random matching approach provides a reasonably good fit, the empirical evidence provides greater support for ‘stock-flow’ matching. Estimates find that over this period, around 87% of newly laid-off workers are on the long-side of their markets and so match with the flow of new vacancies as those vacancies come onto the market. In particular, these workers’ experience average durations of unemployment which exceed 6 months and their matching rates are highly correlated with the inflow of new vacancies. This job queue interpretation of the matching data has important implications for government policy on long term unemployment and optimal UI. It also suggests that previous estimates of the so-called matching function have been misspecified, which potentially explains the large variation in results obtained in that literature.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3241.

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Date of creation: Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3241
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  4. Barbara Petrongolo & Christopher Pissarides, 2000. "Looking into the black box: a survey of the matching function," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2122, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  13. 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.
  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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  19. Curtis R. Taylor, 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 837-855.
  20. 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.
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  22. 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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