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The impact of local unemployment rates on reservation wages and the duration of search for a job

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Evidence about the relationship of local unemployment rates and individuals' reservation wages and duration of search for a job if unemployed is sparse and mixed. This study uses US data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to test whether relatively high local unemployment rates reduce the reservation wages of area residents or increase the duration of search. Labour search theory provides the grounding for the sample selection corrected simultaneous equations econometric model. In neither OLS nor 2SLS results is evidence found that local unemployment rates affect either reservation wages or the duration of search. These results suggest that policies targeted at alleviating unemployment should focus on increasing the demand for labour rather than hope that such policies will be beneficial if pursued in high-unemployment areas because of their effects on labour force characteristics.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: The Ohio State University, 1010 Derby Hall, 154 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA 2: Indian Institute of Management, Prabandh Nagar, Off Sitapur Road, Lucknow 226013, India

Publication date: 2003-09-10

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