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The Effects Of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over The Business Cycle: Evidence From Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over Twenty Years

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Author Info

  • Johannes F. Schmieder†

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Boston University and IZA)

  • Till von Wachter

    ()
    (Columbia University,NBER, CEPR, and IZA)

  • Stefan Bender

    ()
    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB))

Abstract

One goal of extending the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) in recessions is to increase UI coverage in the face of longer unemployment spells. Although it is a common concern that such extensions may themselves raise nonemployment durations, it is not known how recessions would affect the magnitude of this moral hazard. To obtain causal estimates of the differential effects of UI in booms and recessions, this paper exploits the fact that, in Germany, potential UI benefit duration is a function of exact age which is itself invariant over the business cycle. We implement a regression discontinuity design separately for twenty years and correlate our estimates with measures of the business cycle. We find that the nonemployment effects of a month of additional UI benefits are, at best, somewhat declining in recessions. Yet, the UI exhaustion rate, and therefore the additional coverage provided by UI extensions, rises substantially during a downturn. The ratio of these two effects represents the nonemployment response of workers weighted by the probability of being affected by UI extensions. Hence, our results imply that the effective moral hazard effect of UI extensions is significantly lower in recessions than in booms. Using a model of job search with liquidity constraints, we also find that, in the absence of market-wide effects, the net social benefits from UI extensions can be expressed either directly in terms of the exhaustion rate and the nonemployment effect of UI durations, or as a declining function of our measure of effective moral hazard.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-063.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-063

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References

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  1. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, . "Unemployment Insurance Benefit Levels and Consumption Changes," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 25, McMaster University.
  2. Till von Wachter & Jae Song & Joyce Manchester, 2008. "Long-Term Earnings Losses due to Job Separation During the 1982 Recession: An Analysis Using Longitudinal Administrative Data from 1974 to 2004," Discussion Papers 0708-16, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Cash-On-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1511-1560, November.
  4. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, 04.
  5. Lalive, Rafael, 2006. "How Do Extended Benefits Affect Unemployment Duration? A Regression Discontinuity Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2200, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez & Camille Landais, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Wilke, Ralf A. & Lo, Simon M. S. & Arntz, Melanie, 2007. "Bounds Analysis of Competing Risks: A Nonparametric Evaluation of the Effect of Unemployment Benefits on Imigration in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-049, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  9. Caliendo, Marco & Tatsiramos, Konstantinos & Uhlendorff, Arne, 2009. "Benefit Duration, Unemployment Duration and Job Match Quality: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Kiley Michael T., 2003. "How Should Unemployment Benefits Respond to the Business Cycle?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-22, July.
  11. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 17534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  13. Sánchez, Juan M., 2008. "Optimal state-contingent unemployment insurance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 348-357, March.
  14. Ralf A. Wilke, 2005. "New Extimates of the Duration and Risk of Unemployment for West-Germany," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(2), pages 207-237.
  15. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
  16. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Long-Term Effects of UI Extensions on Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 514-19, May.
  2. Bassanini, Andrea & Garnero, Andrea, 2013. "Dismissal protection and worker flows in OECD countries: Evidence from cross-country/cross-industry data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 25-41.
  3. Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez & Camille Landais, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Lo, Simon M.S. & Stephan, Gesine & Wilke, Ralf, 2012. "Estimating the Latent Effect of Unemployment Benefits on Unemployment Duration," IZA Discussion Papers 6650, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Richard Fabling & David C. Maré, 2012. "Cyclical Labour Market Adjustment in New Zealand: The Response of Firms to the Global Financial Crisis and its Implications for Workers," Working Papers 12_04, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  6. Pollak, Andreas, 2013. "Employment Insurance and the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 49358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Valletta, Robert G., 2014. "Recent Extensions of U.S. Unemployment Benefits: Search Responses in Alternative Labor Market States," IZA Discussion Papers 8247, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Kroft, Kory & Notowidigdo, Matthew J., 2012. "Should Unemployment Insurance Vary with the Unemployment Rate? Theory and Evidence," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2012-26, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Oct 2012.
  9. Bart Hobijn & Aysegül Sahin, 2012. "Beveridge curve shifts across countries since the Great Recession," Working Paper Series 2012-24, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Røed, Knut, 2012. "Active Unemployment Insurance," IZA Policy Papers 41, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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