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Journal Article

A new career in a new town. Job search methods and regional mobility of unemployed workers


Publication date

13 Jun 2020


Labour mobility is critical for adjusting imbalance between local labour markets. Yet, labour markets appear still very localized. Existing studies on job search report that the choice of search methods influences job outcomes, with social contacts accounting for a substantial fraction of job matches. Whether search methods are conducive to local or national jobs has not been examined yet. This paper establishes a link between job search and regional mobility, investigating the impact of search methods on unemployment exits within and across local labour markets. The effect of search methods is estimated by a Propensity Score Matching approach, using data from the British Household Panel Survey. Results show that only direct approach to employers enhances the job hazard with regional move. Conversely, social contacts and advertisements are found to increase the hazard to local employment, although the effect of social contacts wears off as the unemployment spell prolongs. No impact is found by Employment Agencies on either exit. These findings suggest that the widespread use of social contacts, while enhancing job matches in the local labour market, might contribute to restrict labour mobility. Therefore, they bear support to policies promoting diffusion and efficacy of alternative methods, particularly when the target is long-term unemployment. Results also point out the opportunity of reforms of the job search assistance and placement service offered by Employment Agencies, taking these limitations into account.

Published in

Portuguese Economic Journal




Social Networks, Regional Economics, Geography, Labour Market, and Unemployment


Not held in Hilary Doughty Research Library - bibliographic reference only; Online Early


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