Essays on Networks and Macroeconomics

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Kivinen, Steven
Unemployment , Inflation , Social Networks
This thesis consists of three essays related by the themes of networks and macroeconomics. The first essay examines the role of networks in workers’ search for employment. Unemployed workers gain employment by sending resumes directly to employers, and indirectly through employed friends. I find that the amount of search effort a worker undertakes is related to how many employed friends it has, and whether networks are substitutes or complements in search. When search costs are linear I find that complementary networks cause those with the most friends to search, while substitutable networks cause search effort to be independent of an individual’s network position. Finally, I examine the role of aggregate links on aggregate matching. The second essay examines the impact of networks on aggregate labour market variables, such as unemployment and unfilled vacancies. It is concluded that networks lead to wage heterogeneity, increased unemployment volatility, and higher autocorrelation of vacancy rates. The conclusions follow analytically using an approximation method, and quantitative magnitudes are discussed using numerical simulations. Finally, issues of network formation and multiple equilibria are addressed. The final essay analyzes the role of imitation on firm pricing decisions. A generalization of Calvo pricing is developed. It is shown that price dynamics are much different in a model with imitation. I demonstrate analytically that sticky inflation can arise. I partially characterize equilibrium prices and inflation. I finish the chapter by generalizing the network effects.
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