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Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle

  • Guido Menzio
  • Shouyong Shi

We build a directed search model of the labor market in which workers' transitions between unemployment, employment, and across employers are endogenous. We prove the existence, uniqueness and efficiency of a recursive equilibrium with the property that the distribution of workers across employment states does not affect the agents' values and strategies. Because of this property, we are able to compute the equilibrium outside the non-stochastic steady-state. We use a calibrated version of the model to measure the effect of productivity shocks on the US labor market. We find that productivity shocks generate procyclical fluctuations in the rate at which unemployed workers become employed and countercyclical fluctuations in the rate at which employed workers become unemployed. Moreover, we find that productivity shocks generate large countercyclical fluctuations in the number of vacancies opened for unemployed workers and even larger procyclical fluctuations in the number of vacancies created for employed workers. Overall, productivity shocks alone can account for 80 percent of unemployment volatility, 30 percent of vacancy volatility and for the nearly perfect negative correlation between unemployment and vacancies.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-327.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 12 Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-327
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
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  1. Menzio, Guido & Moen, Espen R, 2008. "Worker Replacement," CEPR Discussion Papers 7075, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
  3. Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Directed Search for Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Working Papers tecipa-343, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Michael U. Krause & Thomas A. Lubik, 2006. "On-the-Job Search and the Cyclical Dynamics of the Labor Market," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 455, Society for Computational Economics.
  5. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  6. Espen R. Moen & �sa Rosén, 2004. "Does Poaching Distort Training?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1143-1162.
  7. Robert E. Hall & Alan B. Krueger, 2008. "Wage Formation between Newly Hired Workers and Employers: Survey Evidence," Working Papers 1095, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. Guido Menzio, 2007. "A Theory of Partially Directed Search," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 748-769, October.
  9. Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
  11. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-Job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 457-75, July.
  12. Shimer, Robert, 2006. "On-the-job search and strategic bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 811-830, May.
  13. Margaret Stevens, 2004. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 535-551.
  14. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2011. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 468 - 510.
  15. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  16. Postel-Vinay & Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Working Papers 155908, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  17. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages," Working Papers tecipa-328, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  18. John Kennan, 2006. "Private Information, Wage Bargaining and Employment Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 11967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2009. "Block Recursive Equilibria for Stochastic Models of Search on the Job," Working Papers tecipa-347, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  20. Barlevy, Gadi, 2002. "The Sullying Effect of Recessions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 65-96, January.
  21. Alain Delacroix & Shouyong Shi, 2006. "Directed Search On The Job And The Wage Ladder," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 651-699, 05.
  22. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 28 Feb 2009.
  23. Enchuan Shao & Pedro Silos, 2008. "Firm entry and labor market dynamics," Working Paper 2008-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  24. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2010. "Directed Search on the Job, Heterogeneity, and Aggregate Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 327-32, May.
  25. Dale T. Mortensen & Eva Nagypal, 2005. "More on Unemployment and Vacancy Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 11692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Mortensen, Dale T., 1994. "The cyclical behavior of job and worker flows," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1121-1142, November.
  27. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, 09.
  28. Michael W. Elsby & Ryan Michaels & Gary Solon, 2007. "The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 12853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
  30. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2009. "Non-Stationary Search Equilibrium," 2009 Meeting Papers 31, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  31. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  32. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
  33. Ramey, Garey, 2008. "Exogenous vs. Endogenous Separation," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0qb196qd, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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