Computational Economics

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 135–160 | Cite as

Toward a Non-Equilibrium Unemployment Theory



This paper presents a non-equilibrium, agent-based model of workers and firms, with on-the-job searching, endogenous entrepreneurial decisions and endogenous wage and income determination. Workers and firms are heterogeneous, and learn their strategy in the labor market. The model is able to reproduce a number of stylized facts generally accepted in labor economics and industrial organization, such as the Wage, Beveridge and Okun curve, and the skewness of wage, income and firm size distribution. Most interestingly, important stylized facts such as a negatively sloped Wage Curve and a constant returns to scale matching function emerge only out-of-equilibrium, during the adjustment processes toward the stationary state. Thus, from a theoretical point of view the model suggests that taking these stylized facts as “building blocks” of equilibrium models might be misleading. The results stress two additional points. From a methodological point of view, the use of non-equilibrium computational models allows for a more comprehensive investigation of the labor market, by considering the endogenous character of many relevant variables. From an empirical point of view, the joint determination of all aggregate relationships and their dependence on the equilibrium or non-equilibrium state of the system suggest to move from the investigation of empirical regularities in isolation one from the other to a joint analysis.


Unemployment Entrepreneurship Firm demography Simulation Beveridge Okun Wage Curve 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LABORatorio Riccardo Revelli Centre for Employment StudiesMoncalieri (Torino)Italy

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