Abstract

Job search is a key choice variable in theories of labor markets but is difficult to measure directly. We develop a job search activity index based on Google search data, the Google Job Search Index (GJSI). We validate the GJSI with both survey- and web-based measures of job search. Unlike those measures, the GJSI is high frequency, geographically precise, and available in real time. We demonstrate the GJSI’s utility by using it to study the effects of unemployment insurance policy changes between 2008 and 2014. We find no evidence of an economically meaningful effect of these changes on aggregate search.

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