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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 Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers with number 125.

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Length: 71 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:125

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

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References

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Robin Boadway, 2012. "Recent Advances in Optimal Income Taxation," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 200(1), pages 15-39, March.
  3. Rothstein, Jesse & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 2011. "Constrained after college: Student loans and early-career occupational choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 149-163, February.
  4. Pavoni, Nicola & Violante, Giovanni L, 2006. "Optimal Welfare-to-Work Programs," CEPR Discussion Papers 5937, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.

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