Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits
AbstractBefore 1979, unemployment insurance (UI) benefits were not treated as taxable income in the United States. Several economists criticized this policy on the ground that not taxing UI benefits while taxing earned income allegedly encourages unemployed persons to conduct longer than socially optimal job searches. Since 1979, however, UI benefits received by persons in higher-income families have been subject to income tax. This paper investigates whether the introduction of benefit taxation has had the predicted effect of reducing unemployment duration.The study uses data on a sample of persons that filed for UI in 1978 or 1979 to examine whether high-income claimants collected benefits fo rshorter periods after the tax change than they did before benefits became taxable. As part of the empirical analysis, the paper develops a generalization of the Weibull distribution and applies a limited-dependent-variable technique for this distribution similar to the Tobit technique for the normal distribution. Despite some variation in the results from different model specifications, the analysis presents persuasive evidence of a tax effect on unemployment duration. The 1979 policy change is estimated to have reduced average compensated unemployment duration among the sampled high-income claimants by about one week.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.
Volume (Year): 53 (1985)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Other versions of this item:
- Gary Solon, 1984. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits," NBER Working Papers 1260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary Solon, 1982. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Employment Benefits," Working Papers 529, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- M2 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Business Economics
- M20 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Business Economics - - - General
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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- Finis Welch, 1977. "What have we learned from empirical studies of unemployment insurance?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 451-461, July.
- Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1976. "Unemployment Insurance, Duration of Unemployment, and Subsequent Wage Gain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 754-66, December.
- Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-66, September.
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