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Separations, Sorting and Cyclical Unemployment

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  • Mueller, Andreas I.

    () (Columbia University)

Abstract

This paper establishes a new fact about the compositional changes in the pool of unemployed over the U.S. business cycle and evaluates a number of theories that can potentially explain it. Using micro-data from the Current Population Survey for the years 1962-2011, it documents that in recessions the pool of unemployed shifts towards workers with high wages in their previous job. Moreover, it shows that these changes in the composition of the unemployed are mainly due to the higher cyclicality of separations for high-wage workers, and not driven by differences in the cyclicality of job-finding rates. A search-matching model with endogenous separations and worker heterogeneity in terms of ability has difficulty in explaining these patterns, but an extension of the model with credit-constraint shocks does much better in accounting for the new facts.

Suggested Citation

  • Mueller, Andreas I., 2012. "Separations, Sorting and Cyclical Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 6849, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6849
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    Cited by:

    1. Chassamboulli, Andri, 2013. "Labor-market volatility in a matching model with worker heterogeneity and endogenous separations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 217-229.
    2. Ronald Bachmann & Mathias Sinning, 2016. "Decomposing the Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(6), pages 853-876, December.
    3. Kory Kroft & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2016. "Should Unemployment Insurance Vary with the Unemployment Rate? Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 1092-1124.
    4. Elsby, Michael & Hobijn, Bart & Sahin, Aysegül, 2013. "On the Importance of the Participation Margin for Market Fluctuations," Working Paper Series 2013-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    5. Bils, Mark & Chang, Yongsung & Kim, Sun-Bin, 2012. "Comparative advantage and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 150-165.
    6. Mary C. Daly & Bart Hobijn & Theodore S. Wiles, 2011. "Aggregate real wages: macro fluctuations and micro drivers," Working Paper Series 2011-23, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    7. Sahin, Aysegül & Willis, Jonathan L., 2011. "Employment patterns during the recovery: Who are getting the jobs and why?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 5-34.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    sorting; unemployment; business cycles; search-matching; vacancies;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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