Working Paper

VACANCY CHAINS


Abstract: Replacement hiring—recruitment that seeks to replace positions vacated by workers who quit—plays a central role in establishment dynamics. We document this phenomenon using rich microdata on U.S. establishments, which frequently report no net change in their employment, often for years at a time, despite facing substantial gross turnover in the form of quits. We propose a model in which replacement hiring is driven by the presence of a putty-clay friction in the production structure of establishments. Replacement hiring induces a novel positive feedback channel through which an initial rise in vacancy posting induces still more vacancy posting to replace employees who are poached. This vacancy chain in turn induces volatile responses of vacancies, and thereby unemployment, to cyclical shocks.

Keywords: Quits; replacement hiring; unemployment; vacancies; business cycles.;

JEL Classification: E32; J63; J64;

https://doi.org/10.21799/frbp.wp.2020.28

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Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2020-07-30

Number: 20-28