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The Effects of Unemployment Insurance on Labor Supply and Search Outcomes: Regression Discontinuity Estimates from Germany

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  • Johannes F. Schmieder

    ()
    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

  • Till von Wachter

    ()
    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

  • Stefan Bender

    ()
    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB))

Abstract

This paper evaluates the impact of large changes in the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) in different economic environments on labor supply, job matches, and search behavior. We show that differences in eligibility thresholds by exact age give rise to a valid regression discontinuity design, which we implement using administrative data on the universe of new unemployment spells and career histories over twenty years from Germany. We find that increases in UI have small to modest effects on non-employment rates, a result robust over the business cycle and across demographic groups. Thus, large expansions in UI during recessions do not lead to lasting increases in unemployment duration, nor can they explain differences in unemployment durations across countries. We do not find any effect of increased UI duration on average job quality, but show that the mean potentially confounds differential effects on job search across the distribution of UI duration. However, it appears that for a majority of UI beneficiaries increases in UI duration may lead to small declines in wages.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0910-08.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0910-08

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Elsby & Bart Hobjin & Aysegül Sahin, 2010. "The labor market in the Great Recession," Working Paper Series 2010-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Forslund, Anders & Fredriksson, Peter & Vikström, Johan, 2011. "What active labor market policy works in a recession?," Working Paper Series 2011:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. David R. Howell & Bert M. Azizoglu, 2011. "Unemployment Benefits and Work Incentives: The U.S. Labor Market in the Great Recession (revised)," Working Papers wp257_revised, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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