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Essays in macroeconomics and labor economics

Audoly, Richard; (2020) Essays in macroeconomics and labor economics. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This doctoral thesis is made up of three chapters at the intersection between macroeconomics and labor economics, all dealing with topics related to search frictions in the labor market. In the first chapter, I develop a tractable model of firm and worker reallocation over the business cycle that emphasizes the interplay between firms with heterogeneous productivities and on-the-job search. I use this framework to study the role of search frictions in determining aggregate labor productivity following a large economic contraction. In the model, search frictions slow down worker reallocation after a recession, as employed workers face increased competition from a larger pool of unemployed workers. This crowding-out effect holds back the transition of employed workers from less to more productive firms, thus lowering aggregate productivity. Quantitatively, the model implies that worker reallocation has sizable and persistent negative effects on aggregate labor productivity. I provide evidence for this channel from data on the universe of British firms which show that the allocation of workers to firms has downgraded in the aftermath of the Great Recession. In the second chapter, I study the unemployment risks faced by self-employed workers. Though public unemployment insurance (UI) schemes represent an important feature of the social safety net in most advanced economies, the self-employed are generally excluded from these programs. This chapter shows that, similarly to employees on a wage contract, the self-employed do go through unemployment spells in US data. It then calibrates a job search model to evaluate the potential welfare gains from extending UI benefits to this group of workers. The model features workers moving between paid- and self-employment who face the risk of becoming unemployed. Agents can also privately save and borrow to self-insure. My results suggest that extending UI benefits to the self-employed yields modest welfare gains. In the third chapter, I use longitudinal data on patents to quantify sorting in knowledge production. The dimension of sorting I study is that arising between inventors and their ``firm'' (private corporations, universities, public research institutes). My analysis points to the existence of clear, positive inventor-firm sorting. This mechanism accounts on average for five percent of the total variance of inventor output in the US between 1975 and 2010. This framework further suggests that the geographical sorting of inventors and firms is a key channel to explain regional disparities in inventor output.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Essays in macroeconomics and labor economics
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108601
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