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Working Paper

On-the-Job Search and Labor Market Real location

This paper studies amplification of productivity shocks in labor markets through on-the-job-search. There is incomplete information about the quality of the employee-firm match which provides persistence in employment relationships and the rationale for on-the-job search. Amplification arises because productivity changes not only affect firms’ probability of contacting unemployed workers but also of contacting already employed workers. Since higher productivity raises the value of all matches, even low quality matches become productive enough to survive in expansions. Therefore the measure of workers in low quality matches is greater when productivity is high, implying a higher probability of switching to another match. In other words, firms are more likely to meet employed workers in expansions and those they meet are more likely to accept a firm’s job offer because they are more likely to be employed in a low quality match. This introduces strongly procyclical labor market reallocation through procyclical job-to-job transitions. Simulations with a productivity process that is consistent with average labor productivity in the U.S. show that standard deviations for unemployment, vacancies and market tightness (vacancy-unemployment ratio) match the U.S. data. The model also reconciles the presence of endogenous separation with the negative correlation of unemployment and vacancies over business cycle frequencies (i.e. it is consistent with the Beveridge curve).

Suggested Citation

Tasci, Murat. 2007. “On-the-Job Search and Labor Market Real location.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 07-25. https://doi.org/10.26509/frbc-wp-200725