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Job Search and Unemployment Insurance: New Evidence from Time Use Data

  • Alan B. Krueger

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • Andreas Mueller

    (Stockholm University and Princeton University)

This paper provides new evidence on job search intensity of the unemployed in the U.S., modeling job search intensity as time allocated to job search activities. The main findings are: 1) the average unemployed worker in the U.S. devotes about 41 minutes to job search on weekdays, which is substantially more than his or her European counterpart; 2) workers who expect to be recalled by their previous employer search substantially less than the average unemployed worker; 3) across the 50 states and D.C., job search is inversely related to the generosity of unemployment benefits, with an elasticity between -1.6 and -2.2; 4) the predicted wage is a strong predictor of time devoted to job search, with an elasticity in excess of 2.5; 5) job search intensity for those eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) increases prior to benefit exhaustion; 6) time devoted to job search is fairly constant regardless of unemployment duration for those who are ineligible for UI. A nonparametric Monte Carlo technique suggests that the relationship between job search effort and the duration of unemployment for a cross-section of job seekers is only slightly biased by length-based sampling.

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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 1070.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp01th83kz34p
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  1. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
  2. Jones, Stephen R G, 1988. "The Relationship between Unemployment Spells and Reservation Wages as a Test of Search Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 741-65, November.
  3. Krueger, Alan B. & Mueller, Andreas, 2010. "Job search and unemployment insurance: New evidence from time use data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 298-307, April.
  4. Krueger, Alan B. & Mueller, Andreas I., 2008. "The Lot of the Unemployed: A Time Use Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 3490, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Katz, Lawrence F. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1990. "The impact of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 45-72, February.
  6. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Temporary Layoffs in the Theory of Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 937-57, October.
  7. Coles, Melvyn G & Smith, Eric, 1998. "Marketplaces and Matching," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 239-54, February.
  8. John M. Barron & Wesley Mellow, 1979. "Search Effort in the Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 389-404.
  9. Phillip B. Levine, 1993. "Spillover Effects between the Insured and Uninsured Unemployed," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(1), pages 73-86, October.
  10. Fernando Alvarez & Robert Shimer, 2008. "Search and Rest Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Chetty, Raj, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Scholarly Articles 9751256, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Layoffs, Recall and the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Card, David & Chetty, Raj & Weber, Andrea, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," IZA Discussion Papers 2590, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Feldstein, Martin & Poterba, James, 1984. "Unemployment insurance and reservation wages," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 141-167.
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  16. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Moffitt, Robert & Nicholson, Walter, 1982. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance on Unemployment: The Case of Federal Supplemental Benefits," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-11, February.
  18. M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Job Search and Hyperbolic Discounting: Structural Estimation and Policy Evaluation," 2004 Meeting Papers 99, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment insurance and job search decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  20. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, . "The Measurement Of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 09, McMaster University.
  21. Lawrence F. Katz & Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance, Recall Expectations, And Unemployment Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 2594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Erratum: Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1197-1197, December.
  23. Alan B. Krueger & Bruce D. Meyer, 2002. "Labor Supply Effects of Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 9014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  25. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J, 1995. "Welfare States and Unemployment," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 143-60, June.
  27. Harry J. Holzer, 1987. "Job search by employed and unemployed youth," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(4), pages 601-611, July.
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