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Job Matching, Social Network and Word-of-Mouth Communication

  • Calvó-Armengol, Antoni

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Zenou, Yves


    (Stockholm University)

Workers are embedded within a network of social relationships and can communicate through word-of-mouth. They can find a job either directly or through personal contacts. From this micro scenario, we derive an aggregate matching function that has the standard properties but fails to be homogeneous of degree one because of coordination failures between workers. We show that, when the network size increases, on average, the unemployed workers hear about more vacancies through their social network but, at the same time, it is more likely that multiple vacancies reach the same unemployed worker. Above a certain critical value, this job overcrowding becomes so important that job matches decrease with network size. We then establish existence and uniqueness of the labor market equilibrium and study its properties. In dense enough networks, the equilibrium unemployment rate increases with network size whereas the latter has an ambiguous effect on wages. Finally, we demonstrate that the decentralized market equilibrium is not efficient because of both search and network externalities.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 771.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: May 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Urban Economics, 2005, 57 (3), 500-522
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp771
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  1. Hall, Robert E., 1979. "A theory of the natural unemployment rate and the duration of employment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 153-169, April.
  2. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
  3. Smith, Tony E & Zenou, Yves, 2001. "A Discrete-Time Stochastic Model of Job Matching," CEPR Discussion Papers 3044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Pissarides, C A, 1979. "Job Matchings with State Employment Agencies and Random Search," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(356), pages 818-33, December.
  5. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
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  7. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Social Networks And Crime Decisions: The Role Of Social Structure In Facilitating Delinquent Behavior," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 939-958, 08.
  8. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "New developments in models of search in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 2567-2627 Elsevier.
  9. Coles, Melvyn G & Smith, Eric, 1996. "Cross-Section Estimation of the Matching Function: Evidence from England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(252), pages 589-97, November.
  10. Jackson, Matthew O. & Wolinsky, Asher, 1996. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 44-74, October.
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  14. 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.
  15. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 426-454, June.
  16. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
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  18. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
  19. Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "Search Method Use by Unemployed Youth," NBER Working Papers 1859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Anthony E. Smith & Yves Zenou, 2002. "Online Appendix to "A Discrete-Time Stochastic Model of Job Matching"," Technical Appendices zenou02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  21. Finneran, Lisa & Kelly, Morgan, 2003. "Social networks and inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 282-299, March.
  22. Mortensen, Dale T. & Vishwanath, Tara, 1994. "Personal contacts and earnings : It is who you know!," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 187-201, March.
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  24. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 93-125, February.
  25. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni, 2004. "Job contact networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 191-206, March.
  26. Butters, Gerard R, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 465-91, October.
  27. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 1998. "Pricing with frictions," Working Papers 98-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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