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Big Locational Differences in Unemployment Despite High Labor Mobility

  • Northwestern University
  • Damba Lkhagvasuren

Considerable labor mobility exists across U.S. states, enough that, if migration arbitrages local unemployment, one might expect very low unemployment differences across states. However, cross-state data reveal large unemployment differences. An equilibrium multi-location model with stochastic worker-location match productivity and within-location trading frictions can account for these facts. In the model, some workers move to, or stay in, a location with high unemployment because they are more productive there than elsewhere. According to the model, labor mobility and aggregate unemployment are negatively related. This prediction is in stark contrast to standard sectoral reallocation theory, but consistent with the U.S. data.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2007 Meeting Papers with number 922.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:922
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  1. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," NBER Working Papers 13394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kambourov, Gueorgui & Manovskii, Iourii, 2004. "Occupational Mobility and Wage Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1189, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "Mobility and the Return to Education: Testing a Roy Model with Multiple Markets," RCER Working Papers 488, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Giuseppe Moscarini & Francis G. Vella, 2008. "Occupational Mobility and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 13819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Andolfatto, David & Gomme, Paul, 1996. "Unemployment insurance and labor-market activity in Canada," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 47-82, June.
  6. Dale T. Mortensen & Eva Nagypal, 2005. "More on Unemployment and Vacancy Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 11692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Galindev, Ragchaasuren & Lkhagvasuren, Damba, 2010. "Discretization of highly persistent correlated AR(1) shocks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1260-1276, July.
  8. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1692-1706, September.
  9. Richard Rogerson & Lodewijk P. Visschers & Randall Wright, 2008. "Labor Market Fluctuations in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 13872, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Daniele Coen-Pirani, . "Understanding Gross Workers Flows Across U.S. States," GSIA Working Papers 2006-E68, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  11. Paul Bauer & Yoonsoo Lee, 2005. "Labor productivity growth across states," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Jun.
  12. Abraham, Katharine G & Katz, Lawrence F, 1986. "Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 507-22, June.
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