Main Research Agenda
The wages and employment prospects of workers with different skills in a world with differentiated jobs/occupations are a long-standing interest of mine (see RED column or inaugural lecture).
I am particularly interested how various people change occupations (see paper), how one re-design online job search to incorporate advice that facilitates such changes (see paper and VOX column), and how one can identify sorting even though two-sided fixed effects are inappropriate (see paper)? And I want to understand what determines theoretically the sorting and wages in the presence of large firms (see paper) and search frictions (see paper), and how is this is affected by trade (see paper)?
A second research agenda of mine that I review in (see survey) explores whether workers direct their job search towards jobs that post a higher pay:
I have randomly varied wage offers in the field (see paper), and studied the theoretical foundations (see paper and see paper), its effects on firm dynamics (see paper), its consequences when workers apply to multiple jobs (see paper and see paper), its importance for mechanism design (see paper), and whether firms can signal their pay efficiently through cheap talk messages (see paper). Relatedly, I considered how individuals can get better deals by following others, and – more importantly – how firms reward those who are being followed (see paper).
Finally, I study (calibrated models of) epidemics and, in particular, how to incorporate that individuals adjust their behavior to protect themselves. These reactions by the population alter the predictions of these models and the effectiveness of policies. (See this paper for new work on behavioral adjustments, testing and age-dependence in the COVID-19 epidemic, and this paper and this paper for contributions to the HIV/AIDS epidemic).
Journal of the European Economic Association, 2022, 20(6), 2317–2352. This paper showcases studies that illustrate the potential of analyzing online job search data and of intervening in the online job search process, and highlights conditions under which some of the recent interventions are likely to improve market outcomes overall, rather than improving only the outcomes for the treated individuals. Go to paper
American Economic Journal - Macroeconomics, 2022, 14(4), 1-97, with Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. In a field experiment, we study how job seekers respond to posted wages by randomly assigning wages randomly to pairs of otherwise similar vacancies in a large number of professions, which generates significantly more but not exclusive interest at higher wages. Go to paper
Journal of Economic Literature, 2021 59(1): 90-148. With R. Wright,B. Julien, and V. Guerrieri. This survey presents a comprehensive overview of the directed/competitive search literature. Go to paper
Inferring Risk Perceptions and Preferences using Choice from Insurance Menus: Theory and Evidence
Economic Journal, 2021 131: 713-744. With Ericson, Spinnewijn &, Starc Demand for insurance can be driven by high risk aversion or high risk, and we show how to separate the two using observed market shares. Go to paper
Review of Economic Studies, 2019 86(4): 1411-1447. With Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. We develop and evaluate experimentally a novel tool that redesigns the job search process by providing tailored online advice about related occupations. Go to paper
Econometrica, 2019 87(4): 1081-1113. With J. Greenwood, C. Santos and M. Tertilt A calibrated equilibrium search model of an HIV/AIDS epidemic is developed to analyze the direct impact and the behavioral adjustment to policies. Go to paper
Econometrica. 2018 86(1): 85-132. With Jan Eeckhout. When heterogeneous firms can choose both how many and which workers to hire, we illustrate consequences for firm-size and wage inequality. Note a correction for the condition with capital: corrigendum. Go to paper
American Economic Review P&P, 2017, 107(5): 158–162 With J. Greenwood, C. Santos & M. Tertilt. In a quantitative equilibrium model of sexual behavior and HIV/AIDS transmission we study policies that encourage long-term partnerships. Go to paper
Journal of Political Economy, 2017, 124(1), 224-264. With G. Grossman & E. Helpman. (simulations, matlab). We introduce two-sided heterogeneity into a Hecksher-Ohlin-style trade model to study factor reallocation and wage inequality within and across sectors. Go to paper
Econometrica, 2015, Vol 83 (5), 1849-1875. With K. Kim. [online appendix] We introduce cheap-talk into a market game and study if the equilibrium can replicate the constraint efficient allocation under (reserve) price posting. Go to paper
American Economic Review, 2015, Vol 105 (10), 3030-3060. With Leo Kaas. We propose a tractable competitive search model with heterogeneous multi-worker firms, and investigate firm growth and business cycles. Go to paper
Review of Economic Studies, 2015, Vol 82 (2), 659-692. With Fane Groes and Iourii Manovskii. Occupational mobility is highest for high and low earners, and the former move “up” and the latter “down” as in models of vertical re-sorting. Go to paper
B.E. Journals of Theoretical Economics, 2013, Vol 13 (1). With S. Ludwig and A. Sandroni. We document a revealed preference for randomization for “social goods”, while such non-standard behavior is not present for private consumption goods. Go to paper
International Economic Review, 2012, Vol 53 (1), 1-21. With M. Galenianos. We study a finite directed-search wage posting game among heterogeneous firms (allowing for risk aversion, moral hazard,…), including limit theorems. Go to paper
Review of Economic Studies, 2011, Vol. 78 (3), 872-906. With Jan Eeckhout. Wage and employment data can identify the strength of sorting in search models, though two-sided fixed effects are always mis-specified. Go to paper
International Economic Review, 2011, 52(1), pp 85-104. With M. Galenianos and G. Virag. [technical appendix] In directed search with a finite population, minimum wages improve employment but reduce output and efficiency, and reverse for unemployment benefits. Go to paper
Econometrica, 2010, Vol. 78(2), 539–574. With Jan Eeckhout. In search models with price competition the sorting of heterogeneous buyers and sellers depends on complementarities both in output and in search. Go to paper
Journal of Economic Theory, 2010/145, 1354-1385. With Jan Eeckhout. Search affects competing mechanisms: if meetings with low types reduce those of high types, price posting and market separation replace auctions. Go to paper
Journal of Political Economy, 2009, Vol. 117(5), pp. 861- 913. In a directed search where workers apply for multiple jobs and are then allocated via a stable matching, efficiency arises at all stages. Go to paper
Journal of Economic Theory, 2009, 114(2), pp. 445-471. With Manolis Galenianos. We study wage dispersion and (in)efficiency in directed search when workers can strategically apply for multiple jobs but firms can only make one offer. Go to paper
Journal of Monetary Economics, 2008, Vol. 55, pp. 1054-1066. With M. Galenianos. We characterize price dispersion and welfare in a monetary model with private information: inflation is regressive even though the rich hold more money. Go to paper
Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2008/123(2), pp. 621-661. With A. Postlewaite. [technical appendix] In a model of social learning, the better informed (wealthier) consumers get preferential service because their consumption signals high quality to others. Go to paper
CHEAP TALK MESSAGES FOR MARKET DESIGN: THEORY AND EVIDENCE FROM A LABOR MARKET WITH DIRECTED SEARCH
with John Horton and Ramesh Johari (2021, new version coming soon) When heterogeneous employers can send cheap-talk messages about the quality of candidates they would like, this improves sorting, increases wages at high firms and lowers them at low firms, and improves efficiency. In a field experiment we indeed see significant changes in labor allocations and wages in these directions. Go to paper
Do the Long-term Unemployed Benefit from Automated Occupational Advice during Online Job Search?
with Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. In a randomized field experiment, we provide personalized suggestions about suitable alternative occupations to long-term unemployed job seekers in the UK. Effects on the primary pre-registered outcomes of "finding a stable job" and "reaching a cumulative earnings threshold" are positive, are significant among those who searched at least once, and are more pronounced for those who are longer unemployed. Go to paper
Eliciting time preferences when income and consumption vary: Theory, validation & application to job search
With Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. R&R at AER: Micro. We propose a simple method to elicit time preferences at the individual level even when income and consumption varies over time. We validate the method and apply it to correlate individuals' impatience with job search behavior and success. Go to paper
An economic model of the Covid-19 pandemic with young and old agents: Behavior, testing and policies
joint with L.Brotherhood, C. Santos and M. Tertilt, R&R at Review of Economic Studies. This paper explores policies in epidemiological model of Covid-19 where individual's of different age (and associated risk) make private social distancing decisions. Social distancing especially by the old is substantial, and the optimal social planner restricts the young more to provide some slack for the old. Costs of this is much lower when there is also testing. Go to paper