NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Paolo Martellini

University of Pennsylvania

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Institutional Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2020Revisiting the Hypothesis of High Discounts and High Unemployment
with Guido Menzio, Ludo Visschers: w27428
We revisit the hypothesis that cyclical fluctuations in unemployment are caused by shocks to the discount rate. We use a rich search-theoretic model of the labor market in which the UE, EU and EE rates are all endogenous. Analytically, we show that an increase in the discount rate lowers the UE rate and, under some natural conditions, it lowers the EU rate. Quantitatively, we show that an increase in the discount rate from 4 to 10% generates a 3.5% decline in the UE rate and a 6% decline in the EU rate. The response of the unemployment rate is minuscule. These findings are at odds with the actual behavior of the US labor market over the business cycle, which features a negative comovement between the UE and EU rates and large unemployment fluctuations. We show that aggregate productivity s...
April 2018Declining Search Frictions, Unemployment and Growth
with Guido Menzio: w24518
Over the last century, unemployment, vacancy, job-finding and job-loss rates as well as the Beveridge curve have no trend. Yet, the last century has seen the development and diffusion of many information technologies—such as telephones, fax machines, computers, the Internet—which presumably have increased the efficiency of search in the labor market. We explain this phenomenon using a textbook search-theoretic model of the labor market. We show that there exists an equilibrium in which unemployment, vacancies, job-finding and job-loss rates are constant while the search technology improves over time if and only if firm-worker matches are heterogeneous in quality, the distribution of match qualities is Pareto, and the quality of a match is observed before the start of the employment relatio...
 
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