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Inefficient Equilibrium Unemployment in a Duocentric Economy with Matching Frictions


  • Lehmann, Etienne

    () (CRED, Université Panthéon Assas Paris 2)

  • Montero Ledezma, Paola L.

    () (IRES, Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Van der Linden, Bruno

    () (IRES, Université catholique de Louvain)


This article examines unemployment disparities and efficiency in a densely populated economy with two job centers and workers distributed between them. We introduce commuting costs and search-matching frictions to deal with the spatial mismatch between workers and firms. In equilibrium, there exists a unique threshold location where job-seekers are indifferent between job centers. In a decentralized economy job-seekers do not internalize a composition externality they impose on all the unemployed. Their decisions over job-search are thus typically not optimal and hence the equilibrium unemployment rates are inefficient. We calibrate the model for Los Angeles and Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Simulations exercises suggest that changes in the workforce distribution have non-negligible effects on unemployment rates, wages and net output.

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  • Lehmann, Etienne & Montero Ledezma, Paola L. & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2013. "Inefficient Equilibrium Unemployment in a Duocentric Economy with Matching Frictions," IZA Discussion Papers 7828, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7828

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zenou,Yves, 2009. "Urban Labor Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521698221, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1999. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 266-291, April.
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    5. Rupert, Peter & Wasmer, Etienne, 2012. "Housing and the labor market: Time to move and aggregate unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 24-36.
    6. Ch. Pissarides., 2011. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 1.
    7. Zenou, Yves, 2009. "Urban search models under high-relocation costs. Theory and application to spatial mismatch," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 534-546, October.
    8. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
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    12. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, January.
    13. Coulson, N Edward & Laing, Derek & Wang, Ping, 2001. "Spatial Mismatch in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 949-972, October.
    14. Edward L. Glaeser, 2007. "Do Regional Economies Need Regional Coordination?," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000917, UCLA Department of Economics.
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    More about this item


    urban unemployment; commuting; spatial mismatch; externality; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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