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The Joint Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection. A First Pass

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  • Blanchard, Olivier J
  • Tirole, Jean

Abstract

Unemployment insurance and employment protection are typically discussed and studied in isolation. ln this paper, we argue that they are tightly linked, and we focus on their joint optimal design in a simple model, with risk averse workers, risk neutral firms, and random shocks to productivity. We show that, in the 'first best', unemployment insurance comes with employment protection - in the form of layoff taxes; indeed, optimality requires that layoff taxes be equal to unemployment benefits. We then explore the implications of four broad categories of deviations from first best: limits on insurance, limits on layoff taxes, ex-post wage bargaining, and ex-ante heterogeneity of firms or workers. We show how the design must be modified in each case. Finally, we draw out the implications of our analysis for current policy debates and reform proposals, from the financing of unemployment insurance, to the respective roles of severance payments and unemployment benefits.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6127.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6127

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Keywords: employment protection; experience rating; layoff taxes; layoffs; severance payments; unemployment benefits; Unemployment insurance;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
  3. 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.
  4. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  5. Pissarides, Christopher A., 2004. "Consumption and Savings with Unemployment Risk: Implications for Optimal Employment Contracts," IZA Discussion Papers 1183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  9. Hansen, G.D. & Imrohoroglu, A., 1990. "The Role Of Unemployment Insurance In An Economy With Liquidity Constraints And Moral Hazard," Papers 21, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  10. Acemoglu, D. & Shimer, R., 1997. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 97-9, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  12. Acemoglu, Daron & Shimer, Robert, 2000. "Productivity gains from unemployment insurance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1195-1224, June.
  13. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  14. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Katherine Baicker & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "A Distinctive System: Origins and Impact of U.S. Unemployment Compensation," NBER Chapters, in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 227-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Pierre Cahuc & Winfried Koeniger, 2007. "Feature: Employment Protection Legislation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 185-188, 06.
  17. Fernando Alvarez & Marcel Veracierto, 1998. "Search, self-insurance and job-security provisions," Working Paper Series WP-98-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  18. Pauly, Mark V, 1974. "Overinsurance and Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 44-62, February.
  19. Pissarides, Christopher, 2002. "Consumption and Savings with Unemployment Risk: Implications for Employment Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 3367, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  1. It is time to move away from policy witchcraft and into an era where evidence is taken seriously
    by brumley in British Politics and Policy at LSE on 2012-05-28 13:40:02
  2. It is time to move away from policy witchcraft and into an era where evidence is taken seriously
    by Blog Admin in Impact of Social Sciences on 2012-05-29 10:00:44
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