Search and Work in Optimal Welfare Programs
AbstractSome existing welfare programs (“work-first”) require participants to work in exchange for benefits. Others (“job search-first”) emphasize private job-search and provide assistance in finding and retaining a durable employment. This paper studies the optimal design of welfare programs when (i) the principal/government is unable to observe the agent’s effort, but can assist the agent’s job search and can mandate the agent to work, and (ii) agents’ skills depreciate during unemployment. In the optimal welfare program, assisted search is implemented between an initial spell of private search (unemployment insurance) and a final spell of pure income support where search effort is not elicited. To be effective, job-search assistance requires large reemployment subsidies. The optimal program features compulsory work activities for low levels of program’s generosity (i.e., its promised utility or available budget). The threat of mandatory work acts like a punishment that facilitates the provision of search incentives without compromising consumption smoothing too much.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9389.
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
- J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-04-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-CTA-2013-04-13 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-LAB-2013-04-13 (Labour Economics)
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