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Consumption Smoothing during Unemployment

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  • Kolsrud, Jonas

    ()
    (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)

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    Abstract

    A vast literature has investigated how unemployment insurance (UI) affects labor supply. However, the distorting effect of UI on labor supply is to a large extent determined by how well UI benefits smooth private consumption, which in turn depends on the resources available to the unemployed. To determine UI’s consumption-smoothing effect, I exploit a kink in the deterministic relationship between previous earnings and unemployment benefits. The randomized assignment of benefits created by the kink allows me to identify how UI affect the use of private wealth to finance consumption during unemployment spells. Using Swedish data for 2000 - 2002 I find that a large share of the unemployed actually can consume at the same level as they did prior to the layoff. I also find that loans are of great importance to consumption smoothing as more than half the sample lacks buffer savings. This is further emphasized for different subpopulations. Women, couples, and older individuals holds significantly larger liquid wealth than men and young singles.

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    File URL: http://www.ucls.nek.uu.se/digitalAssets/136/136508_201110.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies with number 2011:10.

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    Length: 45 pages
    Date of creation: 03 Jun 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:uulswp:2011_010

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    Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
    Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
    Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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    Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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    Keywords: Saving; wealth; unemployment benefit; unemployment; consumption smoothing;

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    1. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter, 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Working Paper Series 2000:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Torben Sørensen & Christopher R. Taber, 2008. "Estimating the Effect of Student Aid on College Enrollment: Evidence from a Government Grant Policy Reform," NBER Working Papers 14535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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