Working Papers

2016-13 | July 2016

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The Intensity of Job Search and Search Duration

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We use panel data on individual applications to job openings on a job search website to study search intensity and search duration. Our data allow us to control for the composition of job seekers and changes in the number of available job openings over the duration of search. We find that (1) the number of applications sent by a job seeker declines over the duration of search, and (2) longer-duration job seekers send relatively more applications per week throughout their entire search. The latter finding contradicts the implications of standard labor search models. We argue that these models fail to capture an income effect in search effort that causes job seekers with the lowest returns to search to exert the highest effort. We present evidence in support of this idea.

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