IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/anr/reveco/v8y2016p547-581.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Benefits: New Evidence and Interpretation

Author

Listed:
  • Johannes F. Schmieder

    (Department of Economics, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215)

  • Till von Wachter

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095)

Abstract

The Great Recession has renewed interest in unemployment insurance (UI) programs around the world. At the same time, there have been important advances in both theory and measurement of UI. In this review, we first use the theory to present a unified treatment of the welfare effects of UI benefit levels and durations and derive convenient expressions of the full disincentive effect of UI. We then discuss recent estimates of the effect of UI benefit levels and durations on labor supply based on newly available administrative data and quasi-experimental research designs. Although our review of the new estimates confirms the range of negative labor supply effects of the previous literature, we show, based on the model, that these estimates are imperfect proxies for the actual disincentive effects. We also discuss several active areas of research on UI. These include the effect of UI on aggregate labor market outcomes, its effect on job outcomes, its long-term effects, its effects under nonstandard behavioral assumptions, and its interactions with other programs. We isolate several additional areas in need of further research, including estimates of the social value of UI, as well as the effects of UI in less developed countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter, 2016. "The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Benefits: New Evidence and Interpretation," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 547-581, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:8:y:2016:p:547-581
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-economics-080614-115758
    Download Restriction: Full text downloads are only available to subscribers. Visit the abstract page for more information.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruno Crépon & Esther Duflo & Marc Gurgand & Roland Rathelot & Philippe Zamora, 2013. "Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 531-580.
    2. Nicholas Lawson, 2017. "Fiscal Externalities and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 281-312, November.
    3. Camille Landais, 2015. "Assessing the Welfare Effects of Unemployment Benefits Using the Regression Kink Design," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 243-278, November.
    4. Schmieder, Johannes F & Trenkle, Simon, 2020. "Disincentive effects of unemployment benefits and the role of caseworkers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    5. Kory Kroft & Kavan Kucko & Etienne Lehmann & Johannes Schmieder, 2020. "Optimal Income Taxation with Unemployment and Wage Responses: A Sufficient Statistics Approach," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 254-292, February.
    6. David Card & David S. Lee & Zhuan Pei & Andrea Weber, 2015. "Inference on Causal Effects in a Generalized Regression Kink Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 2453-2483, November.
    7. Marcus Hagedorn & Fatih Karahan & Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman, 2013. "Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects," NBER Working Papers 19499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Altmann, Steffen & Falk, Armin & Jäger, Simon & Zimmermann, Florian, 2018. "Learning about job search: A field experiment with job seekers in Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 33-49.
    9. David Card & Andrew Johnston & Pauline Leung & Alexandre Mas & Zhuan Pei, 2015. "The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment Insurance Receipt: New Evidence from a Regression Kink Design in Missouri, 2003-2013," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 126-130, May.
    10. Marinescu, Ioana, 2017. "The general equilibrium impacts of unemployment insurance: Evidence from a large online job board," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 14-29.
    11. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 2000. "Extended benefits and the duration of UI spells: evidence from the New Jersey extended benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 107-138, October.
    12. Nathaniel Hendren, 2015. "Knowledge of Future Job Loss and Implications for Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 21819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
    14. François Gerard & Gustavo Gonzaga, 2013. "Informal Labor and the Cost of Social Programs: Evidence from 15 Years of Unemployment Insurance in Brazil," Textos para discussão 608, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    15. 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.
    16. M. Daniele Paserman, 2008. "Job Search and Hyperbolic Discounting: Structural Estimation and Policy Evaluation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1418-1452, August.
    17. Andrew C. Johnston & Alexandre Mas, 2018. "Potential Unemployment Insurance Duration and Labor Supply: The Individual and Market-Level Response to a Benefit Cut," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(6), pages 2480-2522.
    18. Brown, Eleanor & Kaufold, Howard, 1988. "Human Capital Accumulation and the Optimal Level of Unemployment Insurance Provision," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 493-514, October.
    19. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Karahan, Fatih & Rhee, Serena, 2019. "Geographic reallocation and unemployment during the Great Recession: The role of the housing bust," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 47-69.
    21. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ammar Farooq & Adriana D. Kugler & Umberto Muratori, 2020. "Do Unemployment Insurance Benefits Improve Match Quality? Evidence from Recent U.S. Recessions," NBER Working Papers 27574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Serdar Birinci & Kurt Gerrard See, 2018. "How Should Unemployment Insurance vary over the Business Cycle?," 2018 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. 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.
    4. Andrew C. Johnston & Alexandre Mas, 2018. "Potential Unemployment Insurance Duration and Labor Supply: The Individual and Market-Level Response to a Benefit Cut," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(6), pages 2480-2522.
    5. Brown, Alessio J.G. & Kohlbrecher, Britta & Merkl, Christian & Snower, Dennis J., 2021. "The effects of productivity and benefits on unemployment: Breaking the link," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 967-980.
    6. David S. Lee & Pauline Leung & Christopher J. O’Leary & Zhuan Pei & Simon Quach, 2021. "Are Sufficient Statistics Necessary? Nonparametric Measurement of Deadweight Loss from Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(S2), pages 455-506.
    7. 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.
    8. Steven Dieterle & Otávio Bartalotti & Quentin Brummet, 2020. "Revisiting the Effects of Unemployment Insurance Extensions on Unemployment: A Measurement-Error-Corrected Regression Discontinuity Approach," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 84-114, May.
    9. Henry S. Farber & Robert G. Valletta, 2015. "Do Extended Unemployment Benefits Lengthen Unemployment Spells?: Evidence from Recent Cycles in the U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 873-909.
    10. Rafael Lalive & Camille Landais & Josef Zweimüller, 2015. "Market Externalities of Large Unemployment Insurance Extension Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(12), pages 3564-3596, December.
    11. Lichter, Andreas & Schiprowski, Amelie, 2021. "Benefit duration, job search behavior and re-employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    12. Marinescu, Ioana, 2017. "The general equilibrium impacts of unemployment insurance: Evidence from a large online job board," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 14-29.
    13. Fredriksson, Peter & Söderström, Martin, 2020. "The equilibrium impact of unemployment insurance on unemployment: Evidence from a non-linear policy rule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 187(C).
    14. Krebs, Tom & Scheffel, Martin, 2016. "Labor Market Institutions and the Cost of Recessions," IZA Discussion Papers 10442, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Gałecka-Burdziak, Ewa & Góra, Marek & Jessen, Jonas & Jessen, Robin & Kluve, Jochen, 2021. "The effects of shortening potential benefit duration: Evidence from regional cut-offs and a policy reform," Ruhr Economic Papers 911, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    16. Marco Di Maggio & Amir Kermani, 2016. "The Importance of Unemployment Insurance as an Automatic Stabilizer," NBER Working Papers 22625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Bernardus Van Doornik & David Schoenherr & Janis Skrastins, 2018. "Unemployment Insurance, Strategic Unemployment and Firm-Worker Collusion," Working Papers Series 483, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
    18. Kyle Herkenhoff & Lee Ohanian, 2019. "The Impact of Foreclosure Delay on U.S. Employment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 31, pages 63-83, January.
    19. Rebollo-Sanz, Yolanda Fatima & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2016. "When the Going Gets Tough... Financial Incentives, Duration of Unemployment and Job-Match Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 10044, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2016. "The Limited Macroeconomic Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions," NBER Working Papers 22163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment insurance; welfare analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • 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

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:8:y:2016:p:547-581. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.annualreviews.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: http://www.annualreviews.org (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.annualreviews.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.