NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Job Search Behavior among the Employed and Non-Employed

R. Jason Faberman, Andreas I. Mueller, Ayşegül Şahin, Giorgio Topa

NBER Working Paper No. 23731
Issued in August 2017, Revised in June 2020
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Labor Studies

We develop a unique survey that focuses on the job search behavior of individuals regardless of their labor force status and field it annually starting in 2013. We use our survey to study the relationship between search effort and outcomes for the employed and non-employed. Three important facts stand out: (1) on-the-job search is pervasive, and is more intense at the lower rungs of the job ladder; (2) the employed are about four times more efficient than the unemployed in job search; and (3) the employed receive better job offers than the unemployed. We set up an on-the-job search model with endogenous search effort, calibrate it to fit our new facts, and find that the search effort of the employed is highly elastic. We show that search effort substantially amplifies labor market responses to job separation and matching efficiency shocks over the business cycle.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23731

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