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Structural Estimation of Search Intensity: Do Non-Employed Workers Search Enough?

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  • Gautier, Pieter A.

    () (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Moraga-González, José L.

    () (University of Groningen)

  • Wolthoff, Ronald P.

    () (University of Toronto)

Abstract

We present a structural framework for the evaluation of public policies intended to increase job search intensity. Most of the literature defines search intensity as a scalar that influences the arrival rate of job offers; here we treat it as the number of job applications that workers send out. The wage distribution and job search intensities are simultaneously determined in market equilibrium. We structurally estimate the search cost distribution, the implied matching probabilities, the productivity of a match, and the flow value of non-labor market time; the estimates are then used to derive the socially optimal distribution of job search intensities. From a social point of view, too few workers participate in the labor market while some unemployed search too much. The low participation rate reflects a standard hold-up problem and the excess number of applications result is due to rent seeking behavior. Sizable welfare gains (15% to 20%) can be realized by simultaneously opening more vacancies and increasing participation. A modest binding minimum wage or conditioning UI benefits on applying for at least one job per period, increases welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Gautier, Pieter A. & Moraga-González, José L. & Wolthoff, Ronald P., 2007. "Structural Estimation of Search Intensity: Do Non-Employed Workers Search Enough?," IZA Discussion Papers 3045, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3045
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Engelhardt, Bryan & Fuller, David L., 2012. "Labor force participation and pair-wise efficient contracts with search and bargaining," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 388-402.
    2. Ping Yan, 2013. "How much do Workers Search?," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 249-277, May.
    3. Ronald Wolthoff, 2010. "Applications and Interviews: A Structural Analysis of Two-Sided Simultaneous Search," 2010 Meeting Papers 114, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Philipp Kircher, 2009. "Efficiency of Simultaneous Search," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(5), pages 861-913, October.
    5. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2011. "Frictional Wage Dispersion in Search Models: A Quantitative Assessment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2873-2898, December.
    6. Moraga-González, José Luis & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2008. "Maximum likelihood estimation of search costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 820-848, July.
    7. Gautier, Pieter A. & Moraga-González, José L. & Wolthoff, Ronald P., 2016. "Search costs and efficiency: Do unemployed workers search enough?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 123-139.
    8. Fuller, David L., 2014. "Adverse selection and moral hazard: Quantitative implications for unemployment insurance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 108-122.
    9. Ronald Wolthoff, 2009. "Ex Ante and Ex Post Inefficiency in Search and Matching Models," 2009 Meeting Papers 774, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Ronald Wolthoff, 2014. "It'S About Time: Implications Of The Period Length In An Equilibrium Search Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 839-867, August.
    11. Gautier, Pieter A. & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2009. "Institutions and labor market outcomes in the Netherlands," Working Paper Series 2009:28, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    12. Stephen DeLoach & Mark Kurt, 2013. "Discouraging Workers: Estimating the Impacts of Macroeconomic Shocks on the Search Intensity of the Unemployed," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 433-454, December.
    13. Martin Taulbut & Mark Robinson, 2015. "The Chance to Work in Britain: Matching Unemployed People to Vacancies in Good Times and Bad," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(12), pages 2070-2086, December.
    14. Wolthoff, Ronald P., 2011. "It's About Time: Implications of the Period Length in an Equilibrium Job Search Model," IZA Discussion Papers 6002, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage dispersion; labor market frictions; search costs; job search; welfare; structural estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

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