June 2011

IZA DP No. 5811: Do Frictions Matter in the Labor Market? Accessions, Separations and Minimum Wage Effects

We measure labor market frictions using a strategy that bridges design-based and structural approaches: estimating an equilibrium search model using reduced-form minimum wage elasticities identified from border discontinuities and fitted with Bayesian and LIML methods. We begin by providing the first test of U.S. minimum wage effects on labor market flows and find negative effects on employment flows, but not levels. Separations and accessions fall among restaurants and teens, especially those with low tenure. Our estimated parameters of a search model with wage posting and heterogeneous workers and firms imply that frictions help explain minimum wage effects.