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Does Extending Unemployment Benefits Improve Job Quality?

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  • Arash Nekoei
  • Andrea Weber

Abstract

Contrary to standard search models predictions, past studies have not found a positive effect of unemployment insurance (UI) on reemployment wages. We estimate a positive UI wage effect exploiting an age-based regression discontinuity design in Austria. A search model incorporating duration dependence predicts two countervailing forces: UI induces workers to seek higher-wage jobs, but reduces wages by lengthening unemployment. Matching-function heterogeneity plausibly generates a negative relationship between the UI unemployment-duration and wage effects, which holds empirically in our sample and across studies, reconciling disparate wage-effect estimates. Empirically, UI raises wages by improving reemployment firm quality and attenuating wage drops.

Suggested Citation

  • Arash Nekoei & Andrea Weber, 2017. "Does Extending Unemployment Benefits Improve Job Quality?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 527-561, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:2:p:527-61
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20150528
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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