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Quits, worker recruitment, and firm growth: theory and evidence

  • R. Jason Faberman
  • Eva Nagypal

The authors use establishment data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) to study the micro-level behavior of worker quits and their relation to recruitment and establishment growth. They find that quits decline with establishment growth, playing the most important role at slowly contracting firms. They also find a robust, positive relationship between an establishment's reported hires and vacancies and the incidence of a quit. This relationship occurs despite the finding that quits decline, and hires and vacancies increase, with establishment growth. The authors characterize these dynamics within a labor-market search model with on-the-job search, a convex cost of creating new positions, and multi-worker establishments. The model distinguishes between recruiting to replace a quitting worker and recruiting for a new position, and relates this distinction to firm performance. Beyond giving rise to a varying quit propensity, the model generates endogenously determined thresholds for firm contraction (through both layoffs and attrition), worker replacement, and firm expansion. The continuum of decision rules derived from these thresholds produces rich firm-level dynamics and quit behavior that are broadly consistent with the empirical evidence of the JOLTS data.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 08-13.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:08-13
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  1. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-Job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 457-75, July.
  2. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Jonathan L. Willis, 2006. "Hours and employment implications of search frictions: matching aggregate and establishment-level observations," Research Working Paper RWP 06-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  4. Giuseppe Bertola & Pietro Garibaldi, 2001. "Wages and the Size of Firms in Dynamic Matching Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 335-368, April.
  5. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1993. "Cross Sectional Efficiency and Labor Hoarding in an Matching Model of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 4472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ramey, Garey & Fujita, Shigeru, 2006. "Job Matching and Propagation," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt53s671h7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  7. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen, 1988. "Job Switching and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 495-594.
  8. Mortensen, Dale T., 1994. "The cyclical behavior of job and worker flows," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1121-1142, November.
  9. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  10. Shimer, Robert, 2006. "On-the-job search and strategic bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 811-830, May.
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