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Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with a Hidden Labor Market

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  • Alvarez-Parra, Fernando A.
  • Sanchez, Juan M.

Abstract

This paper considers the problem of optimal unemployment insurance in a moral hazard framework. Unlike existing literature, unemployed workers can secretly participate in a hidden labor market; as a consequence, an endogenous lower bound for promised utility preventing "immiserization" arises. Moreover, the presence of a hidden labor market makes possible an extra deviation and therefore hardens the provision of incentives. Under linear cost of effort, we show that the optimal contract prescribes no participation in the hidden labor market and a decreasing sequence of unemployment payments until the lower bound for promised utility is reached. At that moment, participation jumps and unemployment payments drop down to zero. For the case of non-linear effort cost we calibrate the model to Spain. As in the linear cost of effort, this exercise reproduces no participation and decreasing payments during the initial phase of unemployment. After around three years of unemployment, the contract prescribes a jump in participation and an abrupt decline in unemployment payments. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper justifying an abrupt drop in unemployment payments. In addition, the quantitative analysis suggests that in an environment in which agents differ in separation rate, the hidden labor market reinforces the benefits from a type-dependent unemployment system.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 2531.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2531

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Keywords: Unemployment Insurance; Hidden Labor Markets; Moral Hazard; Recursive Contracts;

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References

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  1. Stephen Williamson & Cheng Wang, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Macroeconomics, EconWPA 9506002, EconWPA.
  2. Wang, Cheng, 1995. "Dynamic Insurance with Private Information and Balanced Budgets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 577-95, October.
  3. Steven Shavell & Laurence Weiss, 1978. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 503, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Phelan Christopher, 1995. "Repeated Moral Hazard and One-Sided Commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 488-506, August.
  5. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
  6. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1998. "Regulatory Discretion and the Unofficial Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 387-92, May.
  7. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  8. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Figuring out the Impact of Hidden Savings on Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 541-554, July.
  9. Gary D. Hansen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 1990. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," UCLA Economics Working Papers 583, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Vodopivec, Milan & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2002. "Income support systems for the unemployed : issues and options," Social Protection Discussion Papers 25529, The World Bank.
  11. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
  12. Wang, Cheng, 1995. "Dynamic Insurance with Private Information and Balanced Budgets," Staff General Research Papers 5249, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  13. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  14. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1990. "Income fluctuation and asymmetric information: An example of a repeated principal-agent problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 367-390, August.
  15. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Steve, 1996. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Staff General Research Papers 5088, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Luz Adriana Flórez, 2014. "The Efficiency of the Informal Sector on the Search and Matching Framework," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 011954, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.

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