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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. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00357751, HAL.
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  4. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2009. "Non-Stationary Search Equilibrium," 2009 Meeting Papers 31, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  8. Krause, Michael & Lubik, Thomas A., 2007. "On-the-job search and the cyclical dynamics of the labor market," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2007,15, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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  10. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Working Papers tecipa-327, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  11. Stevens, M., 2000. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Stratgies for Recruitment and Retention," Economics Papers 2000-w10, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  12. Enchuan Shao & Pedro Silos, 2008. "Firm entry and labor market dynamics," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2008-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  13. Alain Delacroix & Shouyong Shi, 2006. "Directed Search On The Job And The Wage Ladder," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 651-699, 05.
  14. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  15. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2009. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages," Working Papers tecipa-384, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  16. Ramey, Garey, 2008. "Exogenous vs. Endogenous Separation," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0qb196qd, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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  18. Shimer, Robert, 2006. "On-the-job search and strategic bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 811-830, May.
  19. 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.
  20. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2009. "Block Recursive Equilibria for Stochastic Models of Search on the Job," NBER Working Papers 14907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
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  24. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "Directed Search on the Job, Heterogeneity, and Aggregate Fluctuations," Working Papers tecipa-390, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  25. Dale Mortensen & Eva Nagypal, 2007. "More on Unemployment and Vacancy Fluctuations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(3), pages 327-347, July.
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  30. 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.
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  32. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
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