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Place Based Policies with Unemployment

  • Patrick Kline
  • Enrico Moretti

Many countries have policies aimed at creating jobs in depressed areas with high unemployment rates. In standard spatial equilibrium models with perfectly competitive labor and land markets, local job creation efforts are distortionary. We develop a stylized model of frictional local labor markets with the goal of studying the efficiency of unemployment differences across areas and the potential for place based policies to correct local market failures. Our model builds on the heavily studied Diamond - Mortensen - Pissarides framework, adapted to a local labor market setting with a competitive housing market. The result is a simple search analogue of the classic Roback (1982) model that provides a tractable environment for studying the effects of local job creation efforts. In the model, workers are perfectly mobile and the productivity of worker-firm matches may vary across metropolitan areas. In equilibrium, higher local productivity results in higher nominal wages, higher housing costs, and lower unemployment rates. Although workers can move freely to arbitrage away differences in expected utility across metropolitan areas, equilibrium unemployment rates are not equalized across space. We find that if hiring costs are excessive, firms may post too few vacancies. This problem may be offset via local hiring subsidies of the sort found in many place based policies. The optimal hiring subsidy is city specific in the sense that it depends upon the local productivity level.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18758.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Publication status: published as Patrick Kline & Enrico Moretti, 2013. "Place Based Policies with Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 238-43, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18758
Note: LS PE
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  1. Kline, Patrick & Moretti, Enrico, 2013. "Place Based Policies with Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 7180, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. David Card & Francesco Devicienti & Agata Maida, 2010. "Rent-sharing, Holdup, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 16192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Enrico Moretti, 2014. "Local Economic Development, Agglomeration Economies, and the Big Push: 100 Years of Evidence from the Tennessee Valley Authority," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 275-331.
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  5. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
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  7. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence Katz, 1989. "Layoffs and Lemons," Working Papers 629, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. J. Paul Elhorst, 2003. "The Mystery of Regional Unemployment Differentials: Theoretical and Empirical Explanations," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(5), pages 709-748, December.
  9. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2002. "Trade, migration and regional unemployment," Economics Working Papers 832, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2003.
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  12. M. Deidda & A. Di Liberto & M. Foddi & G. Sulis, 2012. "Employment Subsidies, Informal Economy and Women’s Transition into Work in a Depressed Area: Evidence from a Matching Approach," Working Paper CRENoS 201216, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  13. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  14. Matias Busso & Jesse Gregory & Patrick Kline, 2011. "Assessing the Incidence and Efficiency of a Prominent Place Based Policy," Working Papers 11-07, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga, 1999. "Unemployment clusters across European regions and countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20211, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  16. Acemoglu, Daron, 2001. "Good Jobs versus Bad Jobs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-21, January.
  17. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  18. Patrick Kline, 2010. "Place Based Policies, Heterogeneity, and Agglomeration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 383-87, May.
  19. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff & Nicolas Marceau, 2003. "Agglomeration Effects and the Competition for Firms," Cahiers de recherche 0324, CIRPEE.
  20. Adriana D. Kugler & Gilles Saint-Paul, 2004. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Worker Flows in a World with Adverse Selection?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 553-584, July.
  21. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Short-run Equilibrium Dynamics of Unemployment Vacancies, and Real Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 676-90, September.
  22. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2008. "The Economics of Place-Making Policies," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 155-253.
  23. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  24. Molho, Ian, 2001. "Spatial Search, Migration and Regional Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 269-83, May.
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