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Borrowing Constraints, the Cost of Precautionary Saving, and Unemployment Insurance

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  • Thomas F. Crossley
  • Hamish W. Low

Abstract

Job losers exhibit significant heterogeneity in wealth holdings and in the marginal propensity to consume transitory income. We consider potential sources of this heterogeneity, whether (some of) the unemployed face borrowing constraints, and the implications of this heterogeneity for unemployment insurance. We show theoretically how the optimal benefit can depend significantly on borrowing constraints, and on other (non-precautionary) savings motives. We report empirical evidence that (i) a quarter of job losers cannot borrow for current consumption, (ii) this constraint is binding for a much smaller fraction, and (iii) that "excess sensitivity" is not limited to the constrained.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports with number 391.

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Length: 65 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:qseprr:391

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Keywords: unemployment; savings; credit constraints; life-cycle; consumption; unemployment insurance;

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References

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  30. repec:fth:pennfi:69 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Nicola Pavoni & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "Optimal welfare-to-work programs," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 143, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Jesse Rothstein & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2007. "Constrained After College: Student Loans and Early Career Occupational Choices," NBER Working Papers 13117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Christoph Basten & Andreas Fagereng & Kjetil Telle, 2012. "Saving and Portfolio Allocation Before and After Job Loss," KOF Working papers 12-298, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  4. Robin Boadway, 2012. "Recent Advances in Optimal Income Taxation," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 200(1), pages 15-39, March.
  5. Chetty, Raj, 2006. "A general formula for the optimal level of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1879-1901, November.

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