IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Marginal Jobs, Heterogeneous Firms, & Unemployment Flows


  • Michael W. L. Elsby


This paper introduces a notion of fir m size into a search and matching model with endogenous job destruction. The outcome is a rich, yet analytically tractable framework that can be used to analyze a broad set of features of both the cross section and the dynamics of the aggregate labor market. In a set of quantitative applications we show that the model can provide a coherent account of a) the salient features of the distributions of employer size, and employment growth across establishments; b) the amplitude and propagation of cyclical fluctuations in flows between employment and unemployment; c) the negative comovement of unemployment and vacancies in the form of the Beveridge curve; and d) the dynamics of the distribution of employer size over the business cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael W. L. Elsby, 2008. "Marginal Jobs, Heterogeneous Firms, & Unemployment Flows," NBER Working Papers 13777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13777
    Note: EFG LS ME

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cooper, Russell & Haltiwanger, John & Willis, Jonathan L., 2015. "Dynamics of labor demand: Evidence from plant-level observations and aggregate implications," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 37-50.
    2. Haefke, Christian & Sonntag, Marcus & van Rens, Thijs, 2013. "Wage rigidity and job creation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 887-899.
    3. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1692-1706, September.
    4. Ramey, Garey & Shigeru Fujita, 2006. "The Cyclicality of Job Loss and Hiring," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4nz8p839, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    5. William Hawkins & Daron Acemoglu, 2007. "Equilibrium Unemployment in a Generalized Search Model," 2007 Meeting Papers 384, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2008. "Cyclical Wages in a Search-and-Bargaining Model with Large Firms," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2006, pages 65-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ch. Pissarides., 2011. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 1.
    8. Gary Solon & Ryan Michaels & Michael W. L. Elsby, 2009. "The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 84-110, January.
    9. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Jonathan L. Willis, 2007. "Implications of Search Frictions: Matching Aggregate and Establishment-level Observations," NBER Working Papers 13115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
    11. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
    12. Robert Shimer, 2004. "The Consequences of Rigid Wages in Search Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 469-479, 04/05.
    13. Bruce C. Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2004. "Employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market: the complete picture of gross worker flows," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    14. Pietro Garibaldi, 2006. "Hiring Freeze and Bankruptcy in Unemployment Dynamics," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 7, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    15. Silva, José Ignacio & Toledo, Manuel, 2009. "Labor Turnover Costs And The Cyclical Behavior Of Vacancies And Unemployment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(S1), pages 76-96, May.
    16. Bart Hobijn & Ayşegül Şahin, 2013. "Firms And Flexibility," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 922-940, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ebell, Monique, 2011. "On the cyclicality of unemployment: Resurrecting the participation margin," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 822-836.
    2. Andrea Pescatori & Murat Tasci, 2011. "Search frictions and the labor wedge," Working Paper 1111, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    3. Miyamoto Hiroaki, 2011. "Cyclical Behavior of a Matching Model with Capital Investment," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-25, January.
    4. Pascal Michaillat, 2012. "Do Matching Frictions Explain Unemployment? Not in Bad Times," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1721-1750, June.
    5. Christopher L. House & Jing Zhang, 2012. "Layoffs, Lemons and Temps," NBER Working Papers 17962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Leo Kaas & Philipp Kircher, 2015. "Efficient Firm Dynamics in a Frictional Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3030-3060, October.
    7. Davis, Steven J. & Faberman, R. Jason & Haltiwanger, John, 2012. "Labor market flows in the cross section and over time," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-18.
    8. Nicolas Roys, 2010. "Estimating Labor Market Rigidities with Heterogeneous Firms," 2010 Meeting Papers 127, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Manning, Alan, 2011. "Imperfect Competition in the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    10. Faccini, Renato & Ortigueira, Salvador, 2010. "Labor-market volatility in the search-and-matching model: The role of investment-specific technology shocks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1509-1527, August.
    11. Ryuta Ray Kato & Hiroaki Miyamoto, 2013. "Fiscal Stimulus in an Endogenous Job Separation Model," Working Papers EMS_2013_02, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    12. Regis Barnichon, 2009. "Demand-driven job separation: reconciling search models with the ins and outs of unemployment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    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
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13777. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.