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Job seekers’ perceptions and employment prospects: heterogeneity, duration dependence, and bias

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  • Mueller, Andreas I.
  • Spinnewijn, Johannes
  • Topa, Giorgio

Abstract

This paper uses job seekers’elicited beliefs about job finding to disentangle the sources of the decline in job-finding rates by duration of unemployment. We document that beliefs have strong predictive power for job finding, but are not revised downward when remaining unemployed and are subject to optimistic bias, especially for the long-term unemployed. Leveraging the predictive power of beliefs, we find substantial heterogeneity in job finding with the resulting dynamic selection explaining most of the observed negative duration dependence in job finding. Moreover, job seekers’beliefs underreact to heterogeneity in job finding, distorting search behavior and increasing long-term unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Mueller, Andreas I. & Spinnewijn, Johannes & Topa, Giorgio, 2021. "Job seekers’ perceptions and employment prospects: heterogeneity, duration dependence, and bias," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108447, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:108447
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/108447/
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    716485;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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