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Learning and Labor Market Flows

  • Katarina Borovickova

    (University of Chicago)

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    I study labor market flows in an equilibrium model with a distinct role for firm- and worker- level uncertainty, and evaluate their contribution to the labor flows. Firms experience idiosyncratic productivity shocks to which the y react by adjusting the number of hired and separated workers. In addition, workers also switch jobs or leave their current firms for reasons related to the career development. Workers learn about their match quality while employed, build their careers through search for better job opportunities, and separate if they infer that their current job is not a good match. Firm-level productivity shocks impact the match quality of employed workers, which captures the idea that technology is partly embodied in workers and innovation can make some workers less suitable for the new technology. I use a large panel dataset of the labor market histories of individuals in Austria for the empirical investigation. I calibrate the model to match the aggregate labor market flows and show that the model generates dynamics which is consistent with the observed cross-sectional patterns for the job and worker flows. I use the calibrated model to evaluate the contribution of different mechanisms to the worker flows. The learning mechanism accounts for more than 50 percent of the flows which suggests that the uncertainty at the worker level plays an important role in explaining the large magnitude of the worker flows.

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    File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_652.pdf
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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 652.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:652
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
    Fax: 1-314-444-8731
    Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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    1. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning And Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350, February.
    2. Gorry, Aspen, 2010. "Experience and Worker Flows," MPRA Paper 25298, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Turon, Hélène, 2006. "On-The-Job Search, Productivity Shocks and the Individual Earnings Process," CEPR Discussion Papers 5593, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2007. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 107-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kopecky, Karen A. & Suen, Richard M. H., 2009. "Finite State Markov-Chain Approximations to Highly Persistent Processes," MPRA Paper 15122, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Jovanovic, Boyan & Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "An Estimate of a Sectoral Model of Labor Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 827-52, August.
    7. Shimer, Robert, 2006. "On-the-job search and strategic bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 811-830, May.
    8. Pietro Garibaldi & Espen Rasumus Moen, 2010. "Competitive on-the-job search," 2010 Meeting Papers 396, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Steven J. Davis & Jason Faberman & John C. Haltiwanger, 2011. "Labor Market Flows in the Cross Section and Over Time," NBER Working Papers 17294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Belzil, Christian, 2000. "Job Creation and Job Destruction, Worker Reallocation, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 183-203, April.
    11. Burgess, Simon & Turon, Hélène, 2010. "Worker flows, job flows and unemployment in a matching model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 393-408, April.
    12. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
    13. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
    14. Michael Pries & Richard Rogerson, 2005. "Hiring Policies, Labor Market Institutions, and Labor Market Flows," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 811-839, August.
    15. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
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