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Unemployment Insurance under Moral Hazard and Limited Commitment: Public versus Private Provision




This paper analyzes a model of private unemployment insurance under limited commitment and a model of public unemployment insurance subject to moral hazard in an economy with a continuum of agents and an infinite time horizon. The dynamic and steady-state properties of the optimum private unemployment insurance scheme are established. The interaction between public and private unemployment insurance schemes is examined. Examples are constructed to show that for some parameter values increased public insurance can reduce welfare by crowding out private insurance more than one-to-one and that for other parameter values a mix of both public and private insurance can be welfare maximizing. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2007. "Unemployment Insurance under Moral Hazard and Limited Commitment: Public versus Private Provision," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(1), pages 151-181, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:9:y:2007:i:1:p:151-181

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Whinston, Michael D., 1983. "Moral hazard, adverse selection, and the optimal provision of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 49-71, October.
    2. Jonathan Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1988. "Self-Enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 541-554.
    3. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 1999. "Risk Sharing: Private Insurance Markets or Redistributive Taxes?," Working Papers 99-04, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    4. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2000. "Mutual Insurance, Individual Savings and Limited Commitment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(2), pages 216-246, April.
    5. Robert F. Schoeni & Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "What has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," NBER Working Papers 7627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. YiLi Chien & Hanno Lustig, 2010. "The Market Price of Aggregate Risk and the Wealth Distribution," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1596-1650, April.
    7. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2002. "Informal Family Insurance And The Design Of The Welfare State," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 481-503, July.
    8. Diamond, P. A. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1978. "A model of social insurance with variable retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 295-336, December.
    9. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    10. Attanasio, Orazio & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2000. "Consumption smoothing in island economies: Can public insurance reduce welfare?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1225-1258, June.
    11. Arnott, Richard & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1991. "Moral Hazard and Nonmarket Institutions: Dysfunctional Crowding Out or Peer Monitoring?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 179-190, March.
    12. Anderberg, Dan & Andersson, Fredrik, 2000. "Social Insurance with Risk-Reducing Investments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(265), pages 37-56, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tobias Broer, 2013. "The Wrong Shape of Insurance? What Cross-Sectional Distributions Tell Us about Models of Consumption Smoothing," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 107-140, October.
    2. Zhang, Yuzhe, 2013. "Characterization of a risk sharing contract with one-sided commitment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 794-809.
    3. Krueger, Dirk & Perri, Fabrizio, 2011. "Public versus private risk sharing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 920-956, May.
    4. Broer, Tobias, 2014. "Domestic or global imbalances? Rising income risk and the fall in the US current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 47-67.
    5. Lin, Wanchuan & Liu, Yiming & Meng, Juanjuan, 2014. "The crowding-out effect of formal insurance on informal risk sharing: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 184-211.
    6. Tim Worrall & Alessia Russo & Francesco Lancia, 2017. "Sustainable Intergenerational Insurance," 2017 Meeting Papers 319, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Dirk Krueger, 2006. "Public Insurance against Idiosyncratic and Aggregate Risk: The Case of Social Security and Progressive Income Taxation," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(4), pages 587-620, December.
    8. Broer, Tobias, 2011. "Crowding out and crowding in: When does redistribution improve risk-sharing in limited commitment economies?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 957-975, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings


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