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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. 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.
  3. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search Decisions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  4. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Layoffs, Recall and the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  6. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, 04.
  7. Lawrence F. Katz & Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "The Impact of the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 2741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stephen R. G. Jones, 1988. "The Relationship Between Unemployment Spells and Reservation Wages as a Test of Search Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(4), pages 741-765.
  9. 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.
  10. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba, 1982. "Unemployment Insurance and Reservation Wages," NBER Working Papers 1011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Harry J. Holzer, 1987. "Job Search by Employed and Unemployed Youth," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(4), pages 601-611, July.
  12. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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