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Locked in by Leverage: Job Search during the Housing Crisis

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  • Jennifer Brown
  • David A. Matsa

Abstract

This paper examines how housing market distress affects job search. Using data from a leading online job search platform during the Great Recession, we find that job seekers in areas with depressed housing markets apply for fewer jobs that require relocation. With their search constrained geographically, job seekers broaden their search to lower level positions nearby. These effects are stronger for job seekers with recourse mortgages, which we confirm using spatial regression discontinuity analysis. Our findings suggest that housing market distress distorts labor market outcomes by impeding household mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Brown & David A. Matsa, 2016. "Locked in by Leverage: Job Search during the Housing Crisis," NBER Working Papers 22929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22929
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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