Working Paper No. 505
The cost of human capital depreciation during unemployment (606KB)
Skill erosion during unemployment was of particular concern as unemployment duration increased in the Great Recession. I argue that it generates an externality in job creation: firms ignore how their hiring decisions affect the unemployment pool’s skill composition, and hence the output produced by other firms' new hires. As a consequence, job creation is too low from a social point of view. But the extent to which it is too low varies over the cycle. This is because the externality’s magnitude, which depends on the impact of job creation on the pool’s skill composition, reduces when the share of unemployed workers who already have eroded skills increases.