“Individuals who are more impatient search less intensely and set a lower reservation wage. The effect of impatience on the exit rate depends on the relative strength of the two contrasting forces: lower search implies lower exit rates, while a lower reservation wage implies higher exit rates.”

On-the-job Search and Wage Distribution, Journal of Labor Economics: 2005.

The less money you have, too, the more impatient you’d probably become. In this job market, if you thought working at a union-busting Starbucks would be a last resort in a pinch, it turns out Starbucks is laying off over 6,000 employees and are closing or already closed about 1,000 stores.

The recession and the bad job market have led to more college graduates turning to “altruistic” jobs, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, like Peace Corps, Americorps, WorldTeach, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and Teach For America. More and more applicants are turning out.

“The Peace Corps is expecting a 16% increase in applications for the [2009] fiscal year ending Oct. 1.”

As this recession prolongs, unemployment rises, it would seem more job-seekers become impatient with the process. They would set a lower reservation wage, and eventually take jobs that are available. But as college graduates are becoming more impatient at job-searching, they take more jobs that aim at alleviating these woes. So joining the Peace Corps is like lowering a reservation wage? I think these concepts are related, perhaps not in the exact way the authors in Labor Economics suggest.

Since actions of an individual are largely determined by socio-economic class, for college graduates, impatience with a job market might not result in lowering a reservation wage so much as looking for a new line of work. Government jobs become particularly more attractive, and so it seems, do ‘altruistic’ jobs.