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Equilibrium Search With Time-Varying Unemployment Benefits

  • James Albrecht
  • Susan Vroman

We show how time-varying unemployment benefits can generate equilibrium wage dispersion when identical firms post wages and homogeneous risk-averse workers search for jobs. We model a two-tier system similar to real-world UI programmes. The unemployed initially receive benefit "b". Eventually, if a worker does not find a job, the benefit falls to "s". The duration of high benefits is treated as an exponential random variable, so the model is stationary. We characterise the equilibrium and derive the comparative statics effects of changes in the two benefit levels and the expected duration of the high-benefit state on equilibrium wages and unemployment. Copyright 2005 Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 115 (2005)
Issue (Month): 505 (07)
Pages: 631-648

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:115:y:2005:i:505:p:631-648
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  1. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1990. "Nonstationarity in Job Search Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 255-77, April.
  2. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1984. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 824-40, October.
  3. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 370-99, April.
  4. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  5. Rothschild, Michael, 1973. "Models of Market Organization with Imperfect Information: A Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(6), pages 1283-1308, Nov.-Dec..
  6. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment insurance and job search decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  7. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo & Lang, Harald, 1986. "General Equilibrium Wage and Price Distributions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 687-706, November.
  8. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, 07.
  9. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
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