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Search Costs and Efficiency: Do Unemployed Workers Search Enough?

Listed author(s):
  • Pieter Gautier
  • Jose L Moraga-Gonzalez
  • Ronald Wolthoff

Many labor market policies affect the marginal benefits and costs of job search. The impact and desirability of such policies depend on the distribution of search costs. In this paper, we provide an equilibrium framework for identifying the distribution of search costs and we apply it to the Dutch labor market. In our model, the wage distribution, job search intensities, and firm entry are simultaneously determined in market equilibrium. Given the distribution of search intensities (which we directly observe), we calibrate the search cost distribution and the flow value of non-market time; these values are then used to derive the socially optimal firm entry rates and distribution of job search intensities. From a social point of view, some unemployed workers search too little due to a hold-up problem, while other unemployed workers search too much due to coordination frictions and rentseeking behavior. Our results indicate that jointly increasing unemployment benefits and the sanctions for unemployed workers who do not search at all can be welfare-improving.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-527.

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Date of creation: 08 Jan 2015
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-527
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  1. Philipp Kircher, 2009. "Efficiency of Simultaneous Search," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(5), pages 861-913, October.
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  6. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2009. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 14905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Pieter A. Gautier & Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Ronald P. Wolthoff, 2007. "Structural Estimation of Search Intensity: Do Non-Employed Workers Search Enough?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-071/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. van den Bergh, Gerhard & van deer Klaauw, Bas, 2001. "Counseling and monitoring of unemployed workers: theory and evidence from a controlled social experiment," Working Paper Series 2001:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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  13. Manolis Galenianos & Philipp Kircher, 2009. "Directed search with multiple job applications," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 29702, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  14. Gautier, Pieter A. & Wolthoff, Ronald P., 2009. "Simultaneous search with heterogeneous firms and ex post competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 311-319, June.
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  16. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2004. "To Match or Not to Match? Optimal Wage Policy With Endogenous Worker Search Intensity," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00279655, HAL.
  17. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, September.
  18. Moen, E.R., 1995. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Memorandum 37/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  19. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  20. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 305-358, May.
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  26. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  33. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
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