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Household Search and the Aggregate Labor Market

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  • Mankart, Jochen
  • Oikonomou, Rigas

Abstract

Sharing risks is one of the essential economic roles of families. The importance of this role increases in the amount of uncertainty that households face in the labor market and in the degree of incompleteness of financial markets. We develop a theory of joint household search in frictional labor markets under incomplete financial markets. Households can insure themselves by savings and by timing their labor market participation. We show that this theory can match one aspect of the US data that conventional search models, which do not incorporate joint household search, cannot match. In the data, aggregate employment is pro-cyclical and unemployment counter-cyclical, but their sum, the labor force, is acyclical. In our model, and in the US data, when a family member loses his job in a recession, the other family member joins the labor force to provide insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Mankart, Jochen & Oikonomou, Rigas, 2012. "Household Search and the Aggregate Labor Market," Economics Working Paper Series 1225, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2012:25
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Heterogeneous Agents; Family Self Insurance; Labor Market Search; Aggregate Fluctuations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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