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Why has the U.S. Beveridge curve shifted back? new evidence using regional data


  • Robert G. Valletta


The Beveridge curve depicts the empirical relationship between job vacancies and unemployment, which in turn reflects the underlying efficiency of the job matching process. Previous analyses of the Beveridge curve suggested deterioration in match efficiency during the 1970s and early 1980s, followed by improved match efficiency beginning in the late 1980s. This paper combines aggregate and regional data on job vacancies and unemployment to estimate the U.S. aggregate and regional Beveridge curves, focusing on the period 1976-2005. Using new data on job vacancies from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the help-wanted advertising series that formed the basis of past work are modified to form synthetic job vacancy series at the national and regional level. The results suggest that a decline in the dispersion of employment growth across geographic areas contributed to a pronounced inward shift in the Beveridge curve since the late 1980s, reversing the earlier pattern identified by Abraham (1987) and reinforcing findings of favorable labor market trends in the 1990s (e.g., Katz and Krueger 1999).

Suggested Citation

  • Robert G. Valletta, 2005. "Why has the U.S. Beveridge curve shifted back? new evidence using regional data," Working Paper Series 2005-25, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2005-25

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
    2. Jackman, R & Roper, S, 1987. "Structural Unemployment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(1), pages 9-36, February.
    3. 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.
    4. Wall, Howard J & Zoega, Gylfi, 2002. " The British Beveridge Curve: A Tale of Ten Regions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(3), pages 261-280, July.
    5. Bent Hansen, 1970. "Excess Demand, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 1-23.
    6. Borsch-Supan, Axel H, 1991. "Panel Data Analysis of the Beveridge Curve: Is There a Macroeconomic Relation between the Rate of Unemployment and the Vacancy Rate?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(231), pages 279-297, August.
    7. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
    8. Patricia M. Anderson & Simon M. Burgess, 2000. "Empirical Matching Functions: Estimation and Interpretation Using State-Level Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 93-102, February.
    9. Hoyt Bleakley & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1997. "Shifts in the Beveridge Curve, job matching, and labor market dynamics," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 3-19.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elva Bova & João Tovar Jalles & Christina Kolerus, 2016. "Shifting the Beveridge Curve; What Affects Labor Market Matching?," IMF Working Papers 16/93, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Mary C. Daly & Bart Hobijn & Robert G. Valletta, 2011. "The recent evolution of the natural rate of unemployment," Working Paper Series 2011-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    3. Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2013. "Beveridge Curve Shifts across Countries since the Great Recession," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(4), pages 566-600, December.
    4. Edward P. Lazear & James R. Spletzer, 2012. "The United States labor market: status quo or a new normal?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 405-451.
    5. Parantap Basu, 2007. "Understanding Labour Market Frictions: A Tobin’s Q Approach," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 35, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    6. Ravenna, Federico & Walsh, Carl E., 2008. "Vacancies, unemployment, and the Phillips curve," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1494-1521, November.
    7. Richard Dutu & Mark J. Holmes & Brian Silverstone, 2009. "Modelling a Regime-Shifting New Zealand Beveridge Curve," Working Papers in Economics 09/13, University of Waikato.
    8. Bart Hobijn, 2012. "The industry-occupation mix of U.S. job openings and hires," Working Paper Series 2012-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    9. Vanhala, Juuso & Bonthuis, Boele & Jarvis, Valerie, 2013. "What’s going on behind the euro area Beveridge curve(s)?," Working Paper Series 1586, European Central Bank.
    10. Task Force of the Monetary Policy Committee of the European System of Central Banks, 2012. "Euro area labour markets and the crisis," Occasional Paper Series 138, European Central Bank.

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    Unemployment ; Employment (Economic theory) ; Labor market;

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