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Asset‐Based Unemployment Insurance

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  • Pontus Rendahl

Abstract

This paper studies a model of optimal redistribution policies in which agents face unemployment risk and in which savings may provide partial self-insurance. Moral hazard arises as job search effort is unobservable. The optimal redistribution policies provide new insights into how an unemployment insurance scheme should be designed: First, the unemployment insurance policy is recursive in an agent's wealth level, and thus independent of the duration of the unemployment spell. Second, the level of benefit payments is negatively related to the agent's asset position. The reason behind the latter result is twofold; in addition to the first-order insurance effect of wealth, an increase in non-labor income (wealth) amplifies the opportunity cost of employment and thus reduces the agent's incentive to search for a job. During unemployment the agent decumulates assets and the sequence of benefit payments is observationally increasing - a result that stands in sharp contrast with previous studies.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2012.00699.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 743-770

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Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:53:y:2012:i:3:p:743-770

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References

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  1. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2006. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30.
  2. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  3. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
  4. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2003. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 569-587, 07.
  5. Robert Shimer & Iván Werning, 2005. "Liquidity and insurance for the unemployed," Staff Report 366, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000729, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
  8. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 257-279, April.
  9. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card, 1989. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," NBER Working Papers 2871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Benveniste, L M & Scheinkman, J A, 1979. "On the Differentiability of the Value Function in Dynamic Models of Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 727-32, May.
  11. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  12. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  13. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  14. W. Henry Chiu & Edi Karni, 1998. "Endogenous Adverse Selection and Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 806-827, August.
  15. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  16. Steven Shavell & Laurence Weiss, 1978. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 503, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  17. McCall, John J, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-26, February.
  18. Oswald, Andrew J, 1986. "Unemployment Insurance and Labor Contracts under Asymmetric Information: Theory and Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 365-77, June.
  19. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Tatsiramos, Konstantinos & van Ours, Jan C., 2012. "Labor Market Effects of Unemployment Insurance Design," IZA Discussion Papers 6950, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Moritz Kuhn & Sebastian Koehne, 2012. "Should unemployment insurance be asset-tested?," 2012 Meeting Papers 850, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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