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Evidence on Job Search Models from a Survey of Unemployed Workers in Germany

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  • DellaVigna, Stefano

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Heining, Jörg

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

  • Schmieder, Johannes F.

    (Boston University)

  • Trenkle, Simon

    (IZA and IAB)

Abstract

The job finding rate of Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients declines in the initial months of unemployment and then exhibits a spike at the benefit exhaustion point. A range of theoretical explanations have been proposed, but those are hard to disentangle using data on job finding alone. To better understand the underlying mechanisms, we conducted a large text-message-based survey of unemployed workers in Germany. We surveyed 6,800 UI recipients twice a week for 4 months about their job search effort. The panel structure allows us to observe how search effort evolves within individual over the unemployment spell. We provide three key facts: 1) search effort is flat early on in the UI spell, 2) search effort exhibits an increase up to UI exhaustion and a decrease thereafter, 3) UI recipients do not appear to time job start dates to coincide with the UI exhaustion point. A model of reference-dependent job search can explain these facts well, while a standard search model with unobserved heterogeneity struggles to explain the second fact. The third fact also leaves little room for a model of storable offers to explain the spike.

Suggested Citation

  • DellaVigna, Stefano & Heining, Jörg & Schmieder, Johannes F. & Trenkle, Simon, 2020. "Evidence on Job Search Models from a Survey of Unemployed Workers in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 13189, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13189
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    3. Adams, Camilla & Meer, Jonathan & Sloan, CarlyWill, 2022. "The minimum wage and search effort," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 212(C).
    4. Simon Jäger & Christopher Roth & Nina Roussille & Benjamin Schoefer, 2021. "Worker Beliefs About Outside Options," NBER Working Papers 29623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Andreas I. Mueller & Johannes Spinnewijn & Giorgio Topa, 2021. "Job Seekers' Perceptions and Employment Prospects: Heterogeneity, Duration Dependence, and Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(1), pages 324-363, January.
    6. Galecka-Burdziak, Ewa & Góra, Marek & Jessen, Jonas & Jessen, Robin & Kluve, Jochen, 2021. "The Effects of Shortening Potential Benefit Duration: Evidence from Regional Cut-Offs and a Policy Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 14340, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Balgová, Mária & Trenkle, Simon & Zimpelmann, Christian & Pestel, Nico, 2022. "Job search during a pandemic recession: Survey evidence from the Netherlands," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    8. Michele Belot & Philipp Kircher & Paul Muller, 2021. "Eliciting time preferences when income and consumption vary: Theory, validation & application to job search," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-013/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Oskar Jost, 2022. "See you soon: fixed-term contracts, unemployment and recalls in Germany—a linked employer–employee analysis," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 601-626, August.
    10. Espín, Antonio M. & Correa, Manuel & Ruiz-Villaverde, Alberto, 2022. "Economics students: Self-selected in preferences and indoctrinated in beliefs," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).
    11. Jonas Radbruch & Amelie Schiprowski, 2020. "Interview Sequences and the Formation of Subjective Assessments," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 045, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    12. Lichter, Andreas & Schiprowski, Amelie, 2021. "Benefit duration, job search behavior and re-employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    13. Camarero Garcia, Sebastian & Murmann, Martin, 2020. "Unemployment benefit duration and startup success," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-033, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    14. Marinescu, Ioana & Skandalis, Daphné & Zhao, Daniel, 2021. "The impact of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation on job search and vacancy creation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    survey; job search; unemployment; reference dependence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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