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Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle

  • Guido Menzio
  • Shouyong Shi

We build a directed search model of the labor market in which workers' transitions between unemployment, employment, and across employers are endogenous. We prove the existence, uniqueness and efficiency of a recursive equilibrium with the property that the distribution of workers across employment states affects neither the agents' values and strategies nor the market tightness. Because of this property, we are able to compute the equilibrium outside the non-stochastic steady-state. We use a calibrated version of the model to measure the effect of productivity shocks on the US labor market. We find that productivity shocks generate procyclical fluctuations in the rate at which unemployed workers become employed and countercyclical fluctuations in the rate at which employed workers become unemployed. Moreover, we find that productivity shocks generate large countercyclical fluctuations in the number of vacancies opened for unemployed workers and even larger procyclical fluctuations in the number of vacancies created for employed workers. Overall, productivity shocks alone can account for 80 percent of unemployment volatility, 30 percent of vacancy volatility and for the nearly perfect negative correlation between unemployment and vacancies.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14905.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Publication status: published as Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2011. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 468 - 510.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14905
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  1. Guido Menzio, 2007. "A Theory of Partially Directed Search," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-006, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Dale T. Mortensen, 2005. "More on Unemployment and Vacancy Fluctuations," 2005 Meeting Papers 326, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1992. "Search Unemployment with on-the-job Search," CEP Discussion Papers dp0074, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. John Kennan, 2006. "Private Information, Wage Bargaining and Employment Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 11967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
  6. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 28 Feb 2009.
  7. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2009. "Block Recursive Equilibria for Stochastic Models of Search on the Job," Working Papers tecipa-347, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  8. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  9. 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.
  10. Michael U. Krause & Thomas A. Lubik, 2010. "On-the-job search and the cyclical dynamics of the labor market," Working Paper 10-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  11. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search, and Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 509-537, 03.
  12. Alain Delacroix & Shouyong Shi, 2003. "Directed Search On the Job and the Wage Ladder," Working Papers shouyong-03-04, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "Directed Search on the Job, Heterogeneity, and Aggregate Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 327-32, May.
  14. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2011. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Working Papers tecipa-437, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  15. Mortensen, Dale T., 1994. "The cyclical behavior of job and worker flows," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1121-1142, November.
  16. Barlevy, Gadi, 2002. "The Sullying Effect of Recessions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 65-96, January.
  17. Robert E. Hall & Alan B. Krueger, 2008. "Wage Formation between Newly Hired Workers and Employers: Survey Evidence," Working Papers 1095, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  18. Espen R. Moen & �sa Rosén, 2004. "Does Poaching Distort Training?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1143-1162.
  19. Shouyong Shi, 2006. "Directed Search for Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Working Papers tecipa-260, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  20. Enchuan Shao & Pedro Silos, 2008. "Firm entry and labor market dynamics," Working Paper 2008-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  21. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  22. Menzio, Guido & Moen, Espen R., 2010. "Worker replacement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 623-636, September.
  23. 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.
  24. Margaret Stevens, 2004. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 535-551.
  25. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
  26. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, 09.
  27. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  28. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  29. Shimer, Robert, 2006. "On-the-job search and strategic bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 811-830, May.
  30. repec:inr:wpaper:155908 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
  32. Ramey, Garey, 2008. "Exogenous vs. Endogenous Separation," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0qb196qd, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  33. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2009. "Non-Stationary Search Equilibrium," 2009 Meeting Papers 31, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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