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Matching individuals to jobs is a fundamental problem in any labour market. This paper focuses on job characteristics, such as wages, job quality, and distance from the current place of residence, and the impact of these characteristics on the willingness of employed and unemployed individuals to accept new job offers. Using an experimental factorial survey module (FSM) implemented in the fifth wave of a large population survey (Panel Study Labour Market and Social Security), the willingness of employed and unemployed labour market participants to accept new job offers was compared while considering job characteristics like gain of income or commuting distance. In this study, unemployed and employed individuals received the same set of hypothetical job offers. Consistent with theoretical arguments, the about 20,000 evaluations provided by about 4,000 respondents showed that unemployed participants generally exhibit a greater willingness to accept new job offers than employed ones. Moreover, unemployed individuals were likely to make more concessions than employed individuals with respect to job quality, such as accepting fixed-term job offers. Interestingly, little evidence for different decision-making or weightings of mobility costs was found, which enables us to conclude that interregional unemployment disparities can scarcely be explained by unemployed individuals lacking the willingness to work or relocate.
Journal for Labour Market Research – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 20, 2013
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