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Unemployment insurance with a hidden labor market

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  • Fernando Álvarez-Parra
  • Juan M. Sanchez

Abstract

This paper considers the problem of optimal unemployment insurance (UI) in a repeated moral hazard framework. Unlike existing literature, unemployed individuals can secretly participate in a hidden labor market. This extension modifies the standard problem in three dimensions. First, it imposes an endogenous lower bound for the lifetime utility that a contract can deliver. Second, it breaks the identity between unemployment payments and consumption. And third, it hardens the encouragement of search effort. The optimal unemployment insurance system in an economy with a hidden labor market is simple, with an initial phase in which payments are relatively flat during unemployment and with no payments for long-term unemployed individuals. This scheme differs substantially from the one prescribed without a hidden labor market and resembles unemployment protection programs in many countries.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 09-09.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:09-09

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  1. Dilip Abreu & David Pearce & Ennio Stacchetti, 2010. "Towards a Theory of Discounted Repeated Games with Imperfect Monitoring," Levine's Working Paper Archive 199, David K. Levine.
  2. Stephen Williamson & Cheng Wang, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Macroeconomics 9506002, EconWPA.
  3. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1998. "Regulatory Discretion and the Unofficial Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 387-92, May.
  4. Steven Shavell & Laurence Weiss, 1978. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 503, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Vodopivec, Milan & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2002. "Income support systems for the unemployed : issues and options," Social Protection Discussion Papers 25529, The World Bank.
  6. Wang, Cheng, 1995. "Dynamic Insurance with Private Information and Balanced Budgets," Staff General Research Papers 5249, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  9. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1990. "Income fluctuation and asymmetric information: An example of a repeated principal-agent problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 367-390, August.
  11. Phelan Christopher, 1995. "Repeated Moral Hazard and One-Sided Commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 488-506, August.
  12. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
  13. 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.
  14. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
  15. Wang, Cheng, 1995. "Dynamic Insurance with Private Information and Balanced Budgets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 577-95, October.
  16. 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.
  17. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Figuring out the Impact of Hidden Savings on Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 541-554, July.
  18. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1990. "Toward a Theory of Discounted Repeated Games with Imperfect Monitoring," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1041-63, September.
  19. Banerjee, Biswajit, 1983. "The Role of the Informal Sector in the Migration Process: A Test of Probabilistic Migration Models and Labour Market Segmentation for India," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 399-422, November.
  20. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Carlos Medina & Jairo Nunez & Jorge Andres Tamayo, 2013. "The Unemployment Subsidy Program in Colombia: An Assessment," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-369, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Martín González Rozada & Lucas Ronconi & Hernán Ruffo, 2011. "Protecting Workers against Unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evidence from Argentina," IDB Publications 65298, Inter-American Development Bank.
  3. David L. Fuller & Marianna Kudlyak & Damba Lkhagvasuren, 2013. "Productivity insurance: the role of unemployment benefits in a multi-sector model," Working Paper 13-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  4. David Bardey & Fernando Jaramillo, 2011. "Unemployment insurance and informality in developing countries," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 009015, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  5. David L. Fuller & B. Ravikumar & Yuzhe Zhang, 2012. "Unemployment insurance fraud and optimal monitoring," Working Papers 2012-024, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  6. David Bardey & Fernando Jaramillo, 2011. "Unemployment insurance/severance payments and informality in developing countries," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2012-06-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
  7. David Bardey & Fermando Jaramillo & Ximena Pena, 2013. "Unemployment insurance in the presence of an informal," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 011014, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.

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