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A Macroeconomic Approach to Optimal Unemployment Insurance: Applications

Author

Listed:
  • Camille Landais
  • Pascal Michaillat
  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

In the United States, unemployment insurance (UI) is more generous when unemployment is high. This paper examines whether this policy is desirable. The optimal UI replacement rate is the Baily-Chetty replacement rate plus a correction term measuring the effect of UI on welfare through labor market tightness. Empirical evidence suggests that tightness is inefficiently low in slumps and inefficiently high in booms, and that an increase in UI raises tightness. Hence, the correction term is positive in slumps but negative in booms, and optimal UI is indeed countercyclical. Since there remains some uncertainty about the empirical evidence, the paper provides a thorough sensitivity analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2018. "A Macroeconomic Approach to Optimal Unemployment Insurance: Applications," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 182-216, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:182-216
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20160462
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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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