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The Labor Market Effects of Indexing Unemployment Benefits to Previous Earnings

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  • Burkhard Heer

    (Free University of Bolzano-Bozen and CESifo, Munich)

  • Albrecht Morgenstern

    (University of Bonn)

Abstract

In most Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, unemployment benefits are tied to previous labor earnings. The authors study the progressivity of this indexation with regard to its effects on employment, output, and wages in three non-Walrasian equilibrium models of the labor market. In the cases of decentralized union wage bargaining and search unemployment and Nash wage bargaining, employment, output, and wages increase with the degree of indexation. The indexation of unemployment benefits to previous earnings, however, has no effect in the case of efficiency wages. The results also suggest that a more progressive indexation of unemployment benefits is welfare enhancing if wages are bargained.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 33 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 385-402

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:33:y:2005:i:3:p:385-402

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Keywords: unemployment; benefits; progressive indexation; union wage setting;

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References

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  1. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Working Paper Series 1998:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  3. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1995. "The European unemployment dilemma," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 95-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Ramon Marimon & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1997. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," NBER Working Papers 6038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Heer, Burkhard, 2003. "Employment and Welfare Effects of a Two-Tier Unemployment Compensation System," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 147-68, March.
  6. Pissarides, Christopher A., 1998. "The impact of employment tax cuts on unemployment and wages; The role of unemployment benefits and tax structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 155-183, January.
  7. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. "Miners' Wages in Post-war Britain: An Application of a Model of Trade Union Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380), pages 1003-20, December.
  8. Cahuc, Pierre & Lehmann, Etienne, 2000. "Should unemployment benefits decrease with the unemployment spell?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 135-153, July.
  9. Gary D. Hansen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 1990. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," UCLA Economics Working Papers 583, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, December.
  11. Heer, Burkhard, 2002. "The German Unemployment Compensation System: Effects on Aggregate Savings and Wealth Distribution," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 371-94, September.
  12. Burdett, Kenneth, 1979. "Unemployment Insurance Payments as a Search Subsidy: A Theoretical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 333-43, July.
  13. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  14. Goerke, Laszlo & Madsen, Jakob B., 2003. "Earnings-related unemployment benefits and unemployment," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 41-62, March.
  15. James Costain, 1997. "Unemployment insurance with endogenous search intensity and precautionary saving," Economics Working Papers 243, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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Cited by:
  1. Niklas Potrafke, 2010. "Labor market deregulation and globalization: empirical evidence from OECD countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 545-571, September.
  2. Stéphanie Jamet & Thomas Chalaux & Vincent Koen, 2013. "Labour Market and Social Policies to Foster More Inclusive Growth in Sweden," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1023, OECD Publishing.
  3. Beissinger, Thomas & Buesse, Oliver, 2002. "The Impact of the Unemployment Benefit System on International Spillover Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 656, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg & Heinrich Ursprung, 2010. "A positive theory of the earnings relationship of unemployment benefits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 137-163, October.
  5. Goerke, Laszlo & Madsen, Jakob B., 2003. "Earnings-Related Unemployment Benefits in a Unionised Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 701, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Goerke, Laszlo & Madsen, Jakob B., 2003. "Earnings-related unemployment benefits and unemployment," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 41-62, March.
  7. Thomas Beissinger & Oliver Büsse, 2001. "Bismarck versus Beveridge: Which Unemployment Compensation System is more Prone to Labor Market Shocks?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(1), pages 78-, December.

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