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Mismatch Unemployment and the Geography of Job Search

Ioana Marinescu, Roland Rathelot

NBER Working Paper No. 22672
Issued in September 2016
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Labor Studies

Could we significantly reduce U.S. unemployment by helping job seekers move closer to jobs? Using data from the leading employment board CareerBuilder.com, we show that, indeed, workers dislike applying to distant jobs: job seekers are 35% less likely to apply to a job 10 miles away from their ZIP code of residence. However, because job seekers are close enough to vacancies on average, this distaste for distance is fairly inconsequential: our search and matching model predicts that relocating job seekers to minimize unemployment would decrease unemployment by only 5.3%. Geographic mismatch is thus a minor driver of aggregate unemployment.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22672

Published: Ioana Marinescu & Roland Rathelot, 2018. "Mismatch Unemployment and the Geography of Job Search," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, vol 10(3), pages 42-70. citation courtesy of

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