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Search Costs and Efficiency: Do Unemployed Workers Search Enough?

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  • Pieter Gautier
  • Jose L Moraga-Gonzalez
  • Ronald Wolthoff

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pieter Gautier & Jose L Moraga-Gonzalez & Ronald Wolthoff, 2015. "Search Costs and Efficiency: Do Unemployed Workers Search Enough?," Working Papers tecipa-527, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-527
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jetheo:v:169:y:2017:i:c:p:453-473 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Cai, Xiaoming & Gautier, Pieter A. & Wolthoff, Ronald P., 2017. "Search frictions, competing mechanisms and optimal market segmentation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 453-473.
    3. Ronald Wolthoff, 2018. "Applications and Interviews: Firms’ Recruiting Decisions in a Frictional Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(2), pages 1314-1351.
    4. Xiaoming Cai & Pieter Gautier & Ronald Wolthoff, 2015. "Inclusive versus Exclusive Markets: Search Frictions and Competing Mechanisms," Working Papers tecipa-545, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    job search; search cost heterogeneity; labor market frictions; wage dispersion; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

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