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Worker-firm Matching and Unemployment in Transition to a Market

  • Daniel Munich


  • Jan Svejnar

    (The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan Business School ; CERGE-EI)

  • Katherine Terrell

    (The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan Business School)

In this paper we compare the nature and determinants of outflows from unemployment in the case of the Czech and Slovak Republics which in early 1990’s experienced a process close to a controlled experiment. Overall, our study suggests that the exceptionally low unemployment rate in the Czech Republic as compared to Slovakia and the other Central and East European economies has been brought about principally by (1) a rapid increase in vacancies along with unemployment, resulting in a balanced unemployment-vacancy situation at the aggregate as well as district level, (2) a major part played by vacancies and the newly unemployed in the outflow from unemployment, (3) a matching process with strongly increasing returns to scale throughout (rather than only in parts of) the transition period, and (4) ability to keep the long term unemployed at relatively low levels. Using the framework of matching functions we find that in many years the usual Cobb-Douglas specification and the hypothesis of constant returns to scale are rejected. A translog matching function with weak separability between the existing and newly unemployed is found to be the functional form best supported by the data. Our theoretical analysis also indicates that by not adjusting data for the varying size of districts or regions, previous studies may have generated estimates of the returns to scale of the matching function that were biased toward unity.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0012011.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 16 Feb 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0012011
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; pages: 39 + 17 ; figures: in separate PDF file
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  1. Suits, Daniel B & Mason, Andrew & Chan, Louis, 1978. "Spline Functions Fitted by Standard Regression Methods," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 132-39, February.
  2. Profit, Stefan, 1997. "Twin peaks in regional unemployment and returns to scale in job-matching in the Czech Republic," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1997,63, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  3. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1988. "Testing for individual effects in autoregressive models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 297-307, November.
  4. T. Boeri & M. C. Burda, 1995. "Active Labor Market Policies, Job Matching and the Czech Miracle," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1995,76, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  5. Coles, Melvyn G & Smith, Eric, 1994. "Marketplaces and Matching," CEPR Discussion Papers 1048, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. John Ham & Jan Svejnar & Katherine Terrell, 1998. "Unemployment and the Social Safety Net During Transitions to a Market Economy: Evidence from the Czech and Slovak Republic," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 169, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  7. Burda, Michael C, 1992. "Unemployment, Labour Market Institutions and Structural Change in Eastern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 746, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  9. Lubyova, Martina & van Ours, Jan, 1994. "The Matching Process in Labour Markets in Transition," East European Series 13, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  10. Burda, Michael C & Lubyová, Martina, 1995. "The Impact of Active Labour Market Policies: A Closer Look at the Czech and Slovak Republics," CEPR Discussion Papers 1102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Warren, Ronald Jr., 1996. "Returns to scale in a matching model of the labor market," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 135-142, January.
  12. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  13. Storer, P, 1994. "Unemployment Dynamics and Labour Market Tightness: An Empirical Evaluation of Matching Function Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 389-419, Oct.-Dec..
  14. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
  15. Denny, Michael & Fuss, Melvyn A, 1977. "The Use of Approximation Analysis to Test for Separability and the Existence of Consistent Aggregates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 404-18, June.
  16. Schaffer, Mark E, 1995. "Government Subsidies to Enterprises in Central and Eastern Europe: Budgetary Subsidies and Tax Arrears," CEPR Discussion Papers 1144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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