Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 4-7-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Stephen Williamson


The dissertation, which consists of three chapters, is devoted to exploring financial and labor markets with frictions.

Chapter I: Unemployment and Capital Misallocation. The recent recession was associated not only with a marked disruption in the credit market, but also a sharp deterioration in labor market conditions, as evidenced by high unemployment rates and an outward shift in the Beveridge curve. Motivated by such co-movements of the credit market and the labor market, in this chapter I develop a tractable dynamic model with heterogeneous entrepreneurs, credit constraints, and labor-search frictions. In this framework, the misallocation of capital across firms has an adverse effect on the matching efficiency in the labor market. I then quantify the importance of capital misallocation for understanding the behavior of unemployment rate. I find that the credit crunch was the key driving force behind the outward shift in the Beveridge curve during and after the Great Recession. More broadly, I find that credit market frictions and labor search frictions almost equally contributed to unemployment over all business cycles between 1951 and 2011.

Chapter II: Asset Exchange with Search Frictions and Costly Information Acquisition. The second chapter presents a model to characterize conditions under which centralized and decentralized markets (CM/DM) co-exist for asset trading. The asset payoff and trading motive are the seller's private information. CM is immune to search frictions, but suffers from adverse selection. In contrast, DM is subject to search frictions, but it is sustainable since buyers acquire costly information on the asset payoff, and offer a trading menu different from that posted by uninformed buyers. As matching efficiency in the DM increases and the information cost decreases, more trade migrates from CM with adverse selection to DM with search frictions. In the limit, DM with search frictions converges to CM with complete information. I use the model to address the heterogeneous welfare effect of a government asset purchase programs like the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Chapter III: A Search-Based Theory of The Life-Cycle Pattern of Asset Holding. The third chapter investigates the implications of search frictions for a household's life cycle pattern of asset trading as well as for its size distribution in the OTC. General types of preferences are considered and the usual search-theoretic restriction of indivisibility on asset holding is removed. I employ the birth-and-death process to analytically characterize the non-stationary life-cycle pattern of asset holding by each cohort. In the presence of search frictions in the OTC, our paper predicts that the life cycle of asset holding by each cohort conforms to a geometric distribution while the size distribution of asset holding in each cross-section follows a logarithmic pattern. In the end, our model yields Gibrat's law for asset trading in the OTC.


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