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Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects

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  • Marcus Hagedorn
  • Fatih Karahan
  • Iourii Manovskii
  • Kurt Mitman

Abstract

We exploit a policy discontinuity at U.S. state borders to identify the effects of unemployment insurance policies on unemployment. Our estimates imply that most of the persistent increase in unemployment during the Great Recession can be accounted for by the unprecedented extensions of unemployment benefit eligibility. In contrast to the existing recent literature that mainly focused on estimating the effects of benefit duration on job search and acceptance strategies of the unemployed -- the micro effect -- we focus on measuring the general equilibrium macro effect that operates primarily through the response of job creation to unemployment benefit extensions. We find that it is the latter effect that is very important quantitatively.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19499.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19499

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  1. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Jed Kolko & David Neumark & Marisol Cuellar Mejia, 2013. "What Do Business Climate Indexes Teach Us About State Policy And Economic Growth?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 220-255, 05.
  3. Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
  4. Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Lee Ohanian, 2012. "Foreclosure delay and U.S. unemployment," Working Papers 2012-017, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  5. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 43(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
  6. Donald W.K. Andrews, 2004. "Cross-section Regression with Common Shocks," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm401, Yale School of Management.
  7. James Costain & Michael Reiter, 2005. "Business Cycles, Unemployment Insurance and the Calibration of Matching Models," Working Papers 215, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Casey B. Mulligan, 2009. "Means-Tested Mortgage Modification: Homes Saved or Income Destroyed?," NBER Working Papers 15281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  10. Card, David & Chetty, Raj & Weber, Andrea, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," IZA Discussion Papers 2590, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, December.
  12. Arindrajit Dube & T. William Lester & Michael Reich, 2010. "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 945-964, November.
  13. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  14. Casey B. Mulligan, 2010. "Foreclosures, Enforcement, and Collections under the Federal Mortgage Modification Guidelines," NBER Working Papers 15777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Casey B. Mulligan, 2008. "A Depressing Scenario: Mortgage Debt Becomes Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 14514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Effects of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over 20 Years," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 701-752.
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Cited by:
  1. Allegretto, Sylvia & Dube, Arindrajit & Reich, Michael & Zipperer, Ben, 2013. "Credible Research Designs for Minimum Wage Studies," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt3hk7s3fw, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  2. Rafael Lalive & Camille Landais & Josef Zweimüller, 2013. "Market Externalities of Large Unemployment Insurance Extension Programs," CESifo Working Paper Series 4413, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. William Dupor, 2013. "Creating jobs via the 2009 recovery act: state medicaid grants compared to broadly-directed spending," Working Papers 2013-035, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  4. Robert E. Hall, 2014. "High Discounts and High Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 19871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Paul Gomme & Damba Lkhagvasuren, 2011. "The Cyclicality of Search Intensity in a Competitive Search Model," Working Papers 11003, Concordia University, Department of Economics.
  6. Robert E. Hall, 2014. "Quantifying the Lasting Harm to the U.S. Economy from the Financial Crisis," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2014, Volume 29 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Julien Albertini & Arthur Poirier, 2014. "Unemployment benefits extensions at the zero lower bound on nominal interest rate," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2014-019, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  8. Rendon, Silvio & Quella, Núria, 2013. "Behind the Great Recession: Job Search and Housing Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 7773, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Arash Nekoei & Andrea Weber, 2014. "Does Extending Unemployment Benefits Improve Job Quality?," NRN working papers 2014-04, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  10. Robert E. Hall, 2014. "Quantifying the Lasting Harm to the U.S. Economy from the Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 20183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2014. "The Cyclicality of the Opportunity Cost of Employment," Working Paper 126541, Harvard University OpenScholar.

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