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An Estimate of a Sectoral Model of Labor Mobility

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  • Boyan Jovanovic
  • Robert Moffitt

Abstract

This paper develops a model of sectoral labor mobility and tests its main implications. The model nests two distinct hypotheses on the origin of mobility: (a) sectoral shocks (Lucas and Prescott, 1974) and (b) worker-employer mismatch (Jovanovic, 1979, Miller, 1984, Flinn, 1986). We estimate the relative importance of each hypothesis, and find that the bulk of labor mobility is caused by mismatch rather than by sectoral shift. We then try to put a value on society's match-specific information. That is, we ask to what extent the availability of the option to change jobs raises GNP. We find that the mobility option raises expected earnings by roughly between 8.5 percent and 13 percent of labor earnings, which translates to an increase in GNP of between 6 percent and 9 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyan Jovanovic & Robert Moffitt, 1990. "An Estimate of a Sectoral Model of Labor Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3227
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    1. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-1120, December.
    3. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert & Runkle, David, 1988. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Estimating the Impact of Heterogeneity with Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1232-1266, December.
    4. Bruce C. Greenwald, 1986. "Adverse Selection in the Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 325-347.
    5. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-793, August.
    6. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    7. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
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