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Optimal Labor-Market Policy in Recessions

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  • Jung, Philip
  • Kuester, Keith

Abstract

We examine the optimal labor market-policy mix over the business cycle. In a search and matching model with risk-averse workers, endogenous hiring and separation, and unobservable search effort we first show how to decentralize the constrained-efficient allocation. This can be achieved by a combination of a production tax and three labor-market policy instruments, namely, a vacancy subsidy, a layoff tax and unemployment benefits. We derive analytical expressions for the optimal setting of each of these for the steady state and for the business cycle. Our propositions suggest that hiring subsidies, layoff taxes and the replacement rate of unemployment insurance should all rise in recessions. We find this confirmed in a calibration targeted to the U.S. economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Mannheim, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-1.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:mnh:wpaper:29630

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Keywords: unemployment ; search and matching ; endogenous separations;

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  1. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Optimal unemployment insurance over the business cycle," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 35596, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. 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.
  3. Marcelo Veracierto, 2004. "Firing Costs and Business Cycle Fluctuations," 2004 Meeting Papers 445c, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Blanchard, Olivier J & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "The Joint Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection. A First Pass," CEPR Discussion Papers 6127, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Christian Haefke & Marcus Sonntag & Thijs van Rens, 2009. "Wage Rigidity and Job Creation," Kiel Working Papers 1504, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  6. David Domeij, 2005. "Optimal Capital Taxation and Labor Market Search," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 623-650, July.
  7. Garey Ramey & Wouter J. den Haan & Joel Watson, 2000. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 482-498, June.
  8. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  9. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2007. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," IEW - Working Papers 351, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Coles, Melvyn, 2008. "Optimal unemployment policy in a matching equilibrium," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 537-559, August.
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  12. Manuel Toledo & Jose I. Silva, 2005. "Labor Turnover Costs and the Cyclical Behavior of Vacancies and Unemployment," 2005 Meeting Papers 775, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Barnichon, Regis, 2010. "Building a composite Help-Wanted Index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 175-178, December.
  14. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
  15. Cahuc, Pierre & Zylberberg, Andre, 2005. "Optimum Income Taxation and Layoff Taxes," CEPR Discussion Papers 5170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. 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.
  17. Akerlof, George A & Miyazaki, Hajime, 1980. "The Implicit Contract Theory of Unemployment Meets the Wage Bill Argument," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 321-38, January.
  18. Engen, Eric M. & Gruber, Jonathan, 2001. "Unemployment insurance and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 545-579, June.
  19. Christopher Pissarides, 2007. "The unemployment volatility puzzle: is wage stickiness the answer?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4460, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  20. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Optimal labor-market policy in recessions
    by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2011-12-22 04:19:47
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Cited by:
  1. Mark Strøm Kristoffersen, 2012. "Business Cycle Dependent Unemployment Benefits with Wealth Heterogeneity and Precautionary Savings," Economics Working Papers 2012-19, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  2. l'Haridon, Olivier & Malherbet, Franck & Pérez-Duarte, Sébastien, 2013. "Does bargaining matter in the small firms matching model?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 42-58.
  3. Pollak, Andreas, 2013. "Employment Insurance and the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 49358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Cahuc, Pierre, 2014. "Search, Flows, Job Creations and Destructions," IZA Discussion Papers 8173, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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