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The effect of unemployment benefits on re-employment rates: Evidence from the Finnish unemployment insurance reform

  • Uusitalo, Roope
  • Verho, Jouko

In January 2003, the unemployment benefits in Finland were increased for workers with long employment histories. The average benefit increase was 15% for the first 150Â days of the unemployment spell. At the same time severance pay system was abolished. In this paper we evaluate the effect of the change in the benefit structure on the duration of unemployment by comparing the changes in the re-employment hazard profiles among the unemployed who were affected by the reform to the changes in a comparison group whose benefit structure remained unchanged. We find that the change in the benefit structure reduced the re-employment hazards by on average 17%. The effect is largest at the beginning of the unemployment spell and disappears after the eligibility period for the increased benefits expires.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 643-654

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:4:p:643-654
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  1. Carling, Kenneth & Holmlund, Bertil & Vejsiu, Altin, 1999. "Do benefit cuts boost job findings? Swedish evidence from the 1990s," Working Paper Series 1999:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Lalive, R. & van Ours, J.C. & Zweimüller, J., 2004. "How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment," Discussion Paper 2004-86, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392 Elsevier.
  4. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
  5. Uusitalo, Roope & Verho, Jouko, 2007. "The effect of unemployment benefits on re-employment rates: evidence from the Finnish UI-benefit reform," Working Paper Series 2007:21, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  6. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2004. "Dealing with Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Working Papers 0716, University of Miami, Department of Economics, revised 12 Jun 2007.
  7. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tomi Kyyrä & Ralf A. Wilke, 2007. "Reduction in the Long-Term Unemployment of the Elderly: A Success Story from Finland," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 154-182, 03.
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  10. Helge Bennmarker & Kenneth Carling & Bertil Holmlund, 2005. "Do Benefit Hikes Damage Job Finding? Evidence from Swedish Unemployment Insurance Reforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 1460, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2002. "Benefit Entitlement and Unemployment Duration: The Role of Policy Endogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3363, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Knut Roed & Tao Zhang, 2003. "Does Unemployment Compensation Affect Unemployment Duration?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 190-206, January.
  13. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Erratum: Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1197-1197, December.
  14. David Card & Phillip B. Levine, 1998. "Extended Benefits and the Duration of UI Spells: Evidence from the New Jersey Extended Benefit Program," NBER Working Papers 6714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Roed, Knut & Zhang, Tao, 2005. "Unemployment duration and economic incentives--a quasi random-assignment approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1799-1825, October.
  16. Hakola, Tuulia & Uusitalo, Roope, 2005. "Not so voluntary retirement decisions? Evidence from a pension reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2121-2136, December.
  17. Chetty, Raj, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Scholarly Articles 9751256, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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