Pandemic Recession: L- or V-Shaped?
We develop and calibrate a search-theoretic model of the labor market in order to forecast the evolution of the aggregate US labor market during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The model is designed to capture the heterogeneity of the transitions of individual workers across states of unemployment and employment and across different employers. The model is designed also to capture the trade-offs in the choice between temporary and permanent layoffs. Under reasonable parametrizations of the model, the lockdown instituted to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus is shown to have ...
Long-Term Unemployment: Attached and Mismatched?
In this paper, I quantify the contribution of occupation-specific shocks and skills to unemployment duration and its cyclical dynamics. I quantify specific skills using microdata on wages, estimating occupational switching cost as a function of the occupations' difference in skills. The productivity shocks are consistent with job finding rates by occupation. For the period 1995-2013, the model captures 69.5% of long-term unemployment in the data, while a uniform finding rate delivers only 47.2%. In the Great Recession, the model predicts 72.9% of the long-term unemployment that existed in the ...
Network Search: Climbing the Job Ladder Faster
We introduce an irregular network structure into a model of frictional, on-the-job search in which workers find jobs through their network connections or directly from firms. We show that jobs found through network search have wages that stochastically dominate those found through direct contact. Because we consider irregular networks, heterogeneity in the worker's position within the network leads to heterogeneity in wage and employment dynamics: better connected workers climb the job ladder faster and do not fall off it as far. These workers also pass along higher quality referrals, which ...
Equilibrium Sovereign Default with Exchange Rate Depreciation
This study proposes and quantitatively assesses a terms-of-trade penalty for defaulting: defaulters must exchange more of their own goods for imports, which causes an adjustment to the equilibrium exchange rate. This penalty can take the place of an ad hoc fall in output: Facing only this penalty and temporary exclusion from debt markets, countries are willing to maintain borrowing obligations up to a realistic level of debt. The terms-of-trade penalty is consistent with the observed relationship between sovereign default and a country's trade flows and prices. The defaulter's currency ...
Occupational hazards and social disability insurance
Using retrospective data, we introduce evidence that occupational exposure significantly affects disability risk. Incorporating this into a general equilibrium model, social disability insurance (SDI) affects welfare through (i) the classic, risk-sharing channel and (ii) a new channel of occupational reallocation. Both channels can increase welfare, but at the optimal SDI they are at odds. Welfare gains from additional risk-sharing are reduced by overly incentivizing workers to choose risky occupations. In a calibration, optimal SDI increases welfare by 2.6% relative to actuarially fair ...
Multidimensional Skill Mismatch
What determines the earnings of a worker relative to his peers in the same occupation? What makes a worker fail in one occupation but succeed in another? More broadly, what are the factors that determine the productivity of a worker-occupation match? In this paper, we propose an empirical measure of skill mismatch for a worker-occupation match, which sheds light on these questions. This measure is based on the discrepancy between the portfolio of skills required by an occupation and the portfolio of abilities possessed by a worker for learning those skills. This measure arises naturally in a ...
Vocational Considerations and Trends in Social Security Disability
Along with health, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) evaluates work-limiting disability by considering vocational factors including age, education, and past work experience. As the number of SSDI applicants and awards has increased, these vocational criteria are increasingly important to acceptances and denials. A unique state-level dataset allows us to estimate how these factors relate to the SSDI award process. These estimates are used to asses how changes to the demographic and occupational composition have contributed to awards trends. In our results, the prevalence of workers ...
Duration Dependence and Composition in Unemployment Spells
This article reviews the evidence for duration dependence in job-finding rates and its implications for the unemployment duration distribution. The authors document duration dependence and show that it exists within nearly every demographic subgroup. Then, they examine the implications of duration dependence on unemployment duration, emphasizing that a uniform job-finding rate that does not incorporate duration dependence understates unemployment duration. Finally, they explore a composition-based approach to duration dependence, where they solve for the distribution of preexisting ...
Disability Rate Exceeds Nation's; Problem Is Worse in Rural Areas
More than 4 percent of the people in the District are ?on disability,? receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, vs. 2.6 percent for the rest of the country. Rural counties in the District have higher rates than do metro areas.
“Unemployment claims hit 8½-year low”: interpret with caution
An unemployment statistic based on unemployment insurance is less useful because it does not measure unemployment itself.