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Incentive Contracts and Efficient Unemployment Benefits

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  • Dominique Demougin
  • Carsten Helm

Abstract

Several European countries have reformed their labor market institutions. Incentive effects of unemployment benefits have been an important aspect of these reforms. We analyze this issue in a principal-agent model, focusing on unemployment levels and labor productivity. In our model, a higher level of unemployment benefits improves the works position in wage bargaining, leading to stronger effort incentives and higher output. However, it also reduces incentives for labor market participation. Accordingly, there is a trade-off. We analyze how changes in the economic environment such as globalization and better educated works affect this trade-off.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2670.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2670

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Keywords: unemployment benefits; incentive contracts; Nash bargaining; moral hazard; globalisation;

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References

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  1. Dominique Demougin & Carsten Helm, 2006. "Moral Hazard and Bargaining Power," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7, pages 463-470, November.
  2. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," Seminar Papers 661, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-62, December.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Productivity Gains from Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 99-29, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Pitchford, Rohan, 1998. "Moral hazard and limited liability: The real effects of contract bargaining," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 251-259, November.
  6. Albert van der Horst, 2003. "Structural estimates of equilibrium unemployment in six OECD economies," CPB Discussion Paper 19, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  7. Stephen Williamson & Cheng Wang, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Macroeconomics 9506002, EconWPA.
  8. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2003. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 922, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Hungerbühler, Mathias & Lehmann, Etienne, 2009. "On the optimality of a minimum wage: New insights from optimal tax theory," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 464-481, April.
  10. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, 01.
  11. Lalive, Rafael & van Ours, Jan C & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. 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.
  13. Holmlund, B., 1997. "Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," CEPR Discussion Papers 380, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
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  18. Goerke, Laszlo, 2000. "On the structure of unemployment benefits in shirking models," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 283-295, May.
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  23. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
  24. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  25. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475, November.
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  28. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Steve, 1996. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Staff General Research Papers 5088, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bental, Benjamin & Demougin, Dominique, 2010. "Declining labor shares and bargaining power: An institutional explanation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 443-456, March.
  2. Michael Funke & Marc Gronwald, 2009. "A Convex Hull Approach to Counterfactual Analysis of Trade Openness and Growth," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20906, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.

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