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Turbulence and Unemployment in Matching Models

Author

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  • Isaac Baley
  • Lars Ljungqvist
  • Thomas J. Sargent

Abstract

Ljungqvist and Sargent (1998, 2008) show that worse skill transition probabilities for workers who suffer involuntary layoffs (i.e., increases in turbulence) generate higher unemployment in a welfare state. den Haan, Haefke and Ramey (2005) challenge this finding by showing that if higher turbulence means that voluntary quits are also exposed to even a tiny risk of skill loss, then higher turbulence leads to lower unemployment within their matching model. We show (1) that there is no such brittleness of the positive turbulence-unemployment relationship in the matching model of Ljungqvist and Sargent (2007) even if we add such "quit turbulence", and (2) that if den Haan et al. had calibrated their productivity distribution to fit observed unemployment patterns that they miss, then they too would have found a positive turbulence-unemployment relationship in their model. Thus, we trace den Haan et al.'s finding to their assuming a narrower productivity distribution than Ljungqvist and Sargent had. Because den Haan et al. assume a distribution with such narrow support that it implies small returns to reallocating labor, even a small mobility cost shuts down voluntary separations. But that means that the imposition of a small layoff cost in tranquil times has counterfactually large unemployment suppression effects. When the parameterization is adjusted to fit historical observations on unemployment and layoff costs, a positive relationship between turbulence and unemployment reemerges.
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Suggested Citation

  • Isaac Baley & Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2018. "Turbulence and Unemployment in Matching Models," Working Papers 18-24, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:18-24
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    File URL: http://www.tomsargent.com/research/BLS_turbulence.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lars Ljungqvist, 2002. "How Do Lay--off Costs Affect Employment?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 829-853, October.
    2. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
    3. den Haan, Wouter J. & Haefke, Christian & Ramey, Garey, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7x3544bn, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    4. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
    5. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    6. Wouter J. den Haan & Christian Haefke & Garey Ramey, 2005. "Turbulence And Unemployment In A Job Matching Model," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1360-1385, December.
    7. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-265, April.
    8. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Zanetti & Konstantinos Theodoridis, 2018. "State Dependence in Labor Market Fluctuations: Evidence, Theory, and Policy Implications," Economics Series Working Papers 856, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    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
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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