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Do workers really benefit from their social networks?

  • Francois Fontaine

    (University of Paris 1 - Eurequa - CNRS)

This paper provides a simple matching model in which unemployed workers and employers in large firms can be matched together through social networks or through more "formal" methods of search. We show that networks do not necessarily add new externalities and that some results previously obtained in the literature are questionable. Nevertheless, social networks can, in some case, substitute for labor market and this crowding-out effect may be socially costly. We show that a policy increasing the number of workers embedded in the social networks can increase the unemployment rate and decrease workers welfare. Since it is mostly the firms which benefit from larger social networks, transfers from the firms to the workers are necessary to make larger access to the social networks efficient.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/mac/papers/0311/0311002.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0311002.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 06 Nov 2003
Date of revision: 07 Jan 2004
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0311002
Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on Win2000; pages: 30; figures: Yes (included)
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Bentolila, Samuel & Michelacci, Claudio & Suarez, Javier, 2004. "Social Contacts and Occupational Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 4308, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Brown, Martin & Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2003. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2001. "Job Matching, Social Network and Word-of-Mouth Communication," Seminar Papers 695, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 1998. "Job Search Methods and Outcomes," Working Papers w199808, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  5. Samuel Bentolila & Andrea Ichino, 2000. "Unemployment and Consumption: Are Job Losses Less Painful near the Mediterranean?," CESifo Working Paper Series 372, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. 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.
  7. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage Bargaining with On-the-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 323-364, 03.
  8. James Albrecht & Pieter A. Gautier & Susan Vroman, 2006. "Equilibrium Directed Search with Multiple Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 869-891.
  9. Kugler, Adriana, 2002. "Employee Referrals and Efficiency Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 633, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Margolis, David N. & Simonnet, Véronique, 2003. "Educational Track, Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 699, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Harry J. Holzer, 1987. "Hiring Procedures in the Firm: Their Economic Determinants and Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 2185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1999. "Job Reallocation, Employment Fluctuations and Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0421, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "Search Method Use by Unemployed Youth," NBER Working Papers 1859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Cahuc, Pierre & Fontaine, François, 2002. "On the Efficiency of Job Search with Social Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 3511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410, July.
  16. Marmaros, David & Sacerdote, Bruce, 2002. "Peer and social networks in job search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 870-879, May.
  17. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  18. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1996. "How Effective Are State Employment Agencies? Jobcentre Use and Job Matching in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(3), pages 443-67, August.
  19. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  20. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 426-454, June.
  21. Simon, Curtis J & Warner, John T, 1992. "Matchmaker, Matchmaker: The Effect of Old Boy Networks on Job Match Quality, Earnings, and Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 306-30, July.
  22. Venkatesh Bala & Sanjeev Goyal, 2000. "A Noncooperative Model of Network Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1181-1230, September.
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