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What Drives Job Search? Evidence from Google Search Data

Author

Listed:
  • Scott Baker

    () (Economics Department, Stanford University)

  • Andrey Fradkin

    () (Economics Department, Stanford University)

Abstract

The large-scale unemployment caused by the Great Recession has necessitated unprecedented increases in the duration of unemployment insurance (UI). While it is clear that the weekly payments are beneficial to recipients, workers receiving benefits have less incentive to engage in job search and accept job offers. We construct a job search activity index based on Google data which provides the first high-frequency, state-specific measure of job search activity. We demonstrate the validity of our measure by benchmarking it against the American Time Use Survey and the comScore Web-User Panel, and also by showing that it varies with hypothesized drivers of search activity. We test for search activity responses to policy shifts and changes in the distribution of unemployment benefit duration. We find that search activity is greater when a claimant's UI benefits near exhaustion. Furthermore, search activity responses to the passage of bills that increase unemployment benefits duration are negative but short-lived in most specifications. Using daily data, we estimate that an increase by 1% of the population of unemployed receiving additional benefits results in a decrease in aggregate search activity of 1.7% lasting only one week.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Baker & Andrey Fradkin, 2011. "What Drives Job Search? Evidence from Google Search Data," Discussion Papers 10-020, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:10-020
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    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/10-020.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. D'Amuri, Francesco & Marcucci, Juri, 2009. "'Google it!' Forecasting the US unemployment rate with a Google job search index," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-32, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Peter Kuhn & Mikal Skuterud, 2004. "Internet Job Search and Unemployment Durations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 218-232, March.
    3. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Betsey Stevenson, 2009. "The Internet and Job Search," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 67-86 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Holzer, Harry J, 1988. "Search Method Use by Unemployed Youth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:zbw:rwirep:0382 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Francesco Furlanetto & Nicolas Groshenny, 2016. "Mismatch Shocks and Unemployment During the Great Recession," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(7), pages 1197-1214, November.
    3. Francesco Furlanetto & Nicolas Groshenny, "undated". "Mismatch Shocks and Unemployment During the Great Recession," School of Economics Working Papers 2015-14, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    4. Pavlicek, Jaroslav & Kristoufek, Ladislav, 2015. "Nowcasting unemployment rates with Google searches: Evidence from the Visegrad Group countries," FinMaP-Working Papers 34, Collaborative EU Project FinMaP - Financial Distortions and Macroeconomic Performance: Expectations, Constraints and Interaction of Agents.
    5. Schmidt, Torsten & Vosen, Simeon, 2012. "Using Internet Data to Account for Special Events in Economic Forecasting," Ruhr Economic Papers 382, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Chauvet, Marcelle & Gabriel, Stuart & Lutz, Chandler, 2016. "Mortgage default risk: New evidence from internet search queries," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 91-111.
    7. Francesco D'Amuri & Juri Marcucci, 2012. "The predictive power of Google searches in forecasting unemployment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 891, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. Torsten Schmidt & Simeon Vosen, 2012. "Using Internet Data to Account for Special Events in Economic Forecasting," Ruhr Economic Papers 0382, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    9. Jaroslav Pavlicek & Ladislav Kristoufek, 2014. "Can Google searches help nowcast and forecast unemployment rates in the Visegrad Group countries?," Papers 1408.6639, arXiv.org.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job Search; Unemployment; Unemployent Insurance; Moral Hazard; Internet Search;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • L8 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services

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