Frictional Unemployment on Labor Flow Networks
50 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2016 Last revised: 3 Mar 2019
Date Written: January 15, 2016
We develop an alternative theory to the aggregate matching function in which workers search for jobs through a network of firms: the labor flow network. The lack of an edge between two companies indicates the impossibility of labor flows between them due to high frictions. In equilibrium, firms' hiring behavior correlates through the network, generating highly disaggregated local unemployment. Hence, aggregation depends on the topology of the network in non-trivial ways. This theory provides new micro-foundations for the Beveridge curve, wage dispersion, and the employer-size premium. We apply our model to employer-employee matched records and find that network topologies with Pareto-distributed connections cause disproportionately large changes on aggregate unemployment under high labor supply elasticity.
Keywords: Labor flows; networks; unemployment; aggregation; job search
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