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Productivity gains from unemployment insurance

  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Shimer, Robert

This paper argues that unemployment insurance increases labor productivity by encouraging workers to seek higher productivity jobs, and by encouraging firms to create those jobs. We use a quantitative general equilibrium model to investigate whether this effect is comparable in magnitude to the standard moral hazard effects of unemployment insurance. Our model economy captures the behavior of the U.S. labor market for high school graduates quite well. When unemployment insurance becomes more generous starting from the current U.S. levels, there is an increase in unemployment similar in magnitude to the micro-estimates, but because the composition of jobs also changes, total output and welfare increase as well.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 44 (2000)
Issue (Month): 7 (June)
Pages: 1195-1224

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:44:y:2000:i:7:p:1195-1224
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  4. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  5. Gary D. Hansen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 1990. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," UCLA Economics Working Papers 583, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  10. Gomes, Joao F & Greenwood, Jeremy & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1997. "Equilibrium Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1602, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Atkeson Andrew & Lucas Jr. , Robert E., 1995. "Efficiency and Equality in a Simple Model of Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 64-88, June.
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  13. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
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  19. Acemoglu, Daron, 2001. "Good Jobs versus Bad Jobs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-21, January.
  20. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  21. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  22. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
  23. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  24. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz, 1989. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differentials?," NBER Working Papers 3182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. W. Henry Chiu & Edi Karni, 1998. "Endogenous Adverse Selection and Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 806-827, August.
  27. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  28. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  29. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 1998. "Pricing with frictions," Working Papers 98-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  30. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Unemployment versus Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," CEPR Discussion Papers 1769, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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