IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Duration Dependence and Labor Market Conditions: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment

  • Kroft, Kory
  • Lange, Fabian
  • Notowidigdo, Matthew J.

This paper studies the role of employer behavior in generating “negative duration dependence†– the adverse effect of a longer unemployment spell – by sending fictitious resumes to real job postings in 100 U.S. cities. Our results indicate that the likelihood of receiving a callback for an interview significantly decreases with the length of a worker’s unemployment spell, with the majority of this decline occurring during the first eight months. We explore how this effect varies with local labor market conditions, and find that duration dependence is stronger when the labor market is tighter. We develop a theoretical framework that shows how the sign of this interaction effect can be used to discern among leading models of duration dependence based on employer screening, employer ranking, and human capital depreciation. Our results suggest that employer screening plays an important role in generating duration dependence; employers use the unemployment spell length as a signal of unobserved productivity and recognize that this signal is less informative in weak labor markets.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:,%20Lange%20and%20Notowidigo.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Vancouver School of Economics in its series CLSSRN working papers with number clsrn_admin-2012-21.

in new window

Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: 28 Sep 2012
Date of revision: 28 Sep 2012
Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2012-21
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The causes and consequences of longterm unemployment in Europe," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 47, pages 3085-3139 Elsevier.
  2. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages," Working Papers tecipa-328, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-62, December.
  4. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas Mueller, 2011. "Job Search, Emotional Well-Being and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment: Evidence from High-Frequency Longitudinal Data," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 1-81.
  5. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 178, Stockholm School of Economics.
  6. Guido W. Imbens & Lisa M. Lynch, 1993. "Re-Employment Probabilities over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 4585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. V. Chernozhukov & I. Fernández-Val & A. Galichon, 2009. "Improving point and interval estimators of monotone functions by rearrangement," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 96(3), pages 559-575.
  8. J. Heckman & B. Singer, 1984. "The Identifiability of the Proportional Hazard Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 231-241.
  9. Stefan Eriksson & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Do Employers Use Unemployment as a Sorting Criterion When Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 1014-39, March.
  10. Ben Lockwood, 1991. "Information Externalities in the Labour Market and the Duration of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(4), pages 733-753.
  11. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  12. Acemoglu, Daron, 1995. "Public Policy in a Model of Long-Term Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(246), pages 161-78, May.
  13. Berg, G.J. & Ours, J.C., 1993. "Unemployment dynamics and duration dependence," Serie Research Memoranda 0022, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  14. van den Berg, G. & van Ours, J.C., 1996. "Unemployment dynamics and duration dependence," Other publications TiSEM 4374742f-8d86-458d-9ab3-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  15. Krueger, Alan B. & Mueller, Andreas I., 2011. "Job Search and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment: Evidence from High-Frequency Longitudinal Data," IZA Discussion Papers 5450, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Nicola Pavoni, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance, With Human Capital Depreciation, And Duration Dependence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 323-362, 05.
  17. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
  18. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2012-21. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vivian Tran)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.