Unemployment benefits or taxes: How should policy makers redistribute income over the business cycle?
AbstractThis paper studies optimal unemployment benefit levels and optimal proportional income tax rates over the business cycle. Previous research suggests that policy makers should make unemployment insurance (UI) dependent on the business cycle because the UI system can be used to smooth consumption across different economic states. However, high benefits increase unemployment. An alternative way to redistribute income is to vary tax rates over the business cycle. In this paper, we develop an equilibrium search and matching model with risk-averse workers and two states, namely, a good and a bad state. The model yields potential ambiguity concerning the welfare effects of business cycle-dependent UI. The model is calibrated to United States (U.S.) labor market data. The numerical results suggest that higher benefits in the bad state are optimal, but the benefit differential is small. A more efficient way for policy makers to redistribute income over the business cycle is to decrease taxes in the bad state. Compared to an optimal uniform system, however, differentiation yields small welfare gains. Nevertheless, imposing two tax rates strictly dominates imposing two benefit levels. This finding is robust to a wide range of sensitivity checks.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies with number 2012:4.
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 20 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
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
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
More information through EDIRC
Job search; business cycles; unemployment insurance; time-varying benefits and taxes;
Other versions of this item:
- Ek, Susanne, 2012. "Unemployment Benefits or Taxes: How Should Policy Makers Redistribute Income over the Business Cycle?," IZA Discussion Papers 6308, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Ek, Susanne, 2012. "Unemployment benefits or taxes: How should policy makers redistribute income over the business cycle?," Working Paper Series 2012:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
- E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
- 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
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Torben M. Andersen & Michael Svarer, 2011. "State Dependent Unemployment Benefits," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 78(2), pages 325-344, 06.
- Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2011.
"Optimal Unemployment Insurance Over the Business Cycle,"
CEP Discussion Papers
dp1078, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez & Camille Landais, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Landais, Camille & Michaillat, Pascal & Saez, Emmanuel, 2010. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 8132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael T. Kiley, 2003.
"How should unemployment benefits respond to the business cycle?,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
2003-01, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Kiley Michael T., 2003. "How Should Unemployment Benefits Respond to the Business Cycle?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-22, July.
- Michael Kiley, 2002. "How Should Unemployment Benefits Respond to the Business Cycle?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 167, Society for Computational Economics.
- Stanislav Rabinovich & Kurt Mitman, 2011.
"Pro-cyclical Unemployment Benefits? Optimal Policy in an Equilibrium Business Cycle Model,"
2011 Meeting Papers
1247, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Kurt Mitman & Stanislav Rabinovich, 2011. "Pro-cyclical Unemployment Benefits? Optimal Policy in an Equilibrium Business Cycle Model," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-023, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
- Kurt Mitman & Stanislav Rabinovich, 2011. "Pro-Cyclical Unemployment Benefits? Optimal Policy in an Equilibrium Business Cycle Model," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
- Pierre Cahuc & AndrÃ© Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x, June.
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