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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
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  1. Gary Solon & Ryan Michaels & Michael W. L. Elsby, 2009. "The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 84-110, January.
  2. Shouyong Shi & Francisco Gonzalez, 2009. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages," 2009 Meeting Papers 27, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Guido Menzio, 2007. "A Theory of Partially Directed Search," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-006, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Hall, Robert & Krueger, Alan B., 2008. "Wage Formation between Newly Hired Workers and Employers: Survey Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Menzio, Guido & Shi, Shouyong, 2010. "Block recursive equilibria for stochastic models of search on the job," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1453-1494, July.
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  9. 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.
  10. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Thomas Lubik & Michael Krause, 2004. "On-the-Job Search and the Cyclical Dynamics of the Labor Market," Economics Working Paper Archive 513, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Alain Delacroix & Shouyong Shi, 2003. "Directed Search On the Job and the Wage Ladder," Working Papers shouyong-03-04, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  14. Menzio, Guido & Moen, Espen R., 2010. "Worker replacement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 623-636, September.
  15. 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.
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  18. Moen, Espen R. & Rosén, Åsa, 2002. "Does poaching distort training?," Working Paper Series 4/2002, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  19. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, 09.
  23. Enchuan Shao & Pedro Silos, 2008. "Firm entry and labor market dynamics," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2008-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  24. Ramey, Garey, 2008. "Exogenous vs. Endogenous Separation," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0qb196qd, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  25. Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Directed Search for Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Working Papers tecipa-343, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  26. James D. Montgomery, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-179.
  27. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 457-475.
  28. Gadi Barlevy, 2002. "The Sullying Effect of Recessions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 65-96.
  29. Shimer, Robert, 2006. "On-the-job search and strategic bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 811-830, May.
  30. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
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