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Optimal unemployment insurance in an equilibrium business-cycle model

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  • Mitman, Kurt
  • Rabinovich, Stanislav

Abstract

The optimal cyclical behavior of unemployment insurance is characterized in an equilibrium search model with risk-averse workers. Contrary to the current US policy, the path of optimal unemployment benefits is pro-cyclical – positively correlated with productivity and employment. Furthermore, optimal unemployment benefits react non-monotonically to a productivity shock: in response to a fall in productivity, they rise on impact but then fall significantly below their pre-recession level during the recovery. As compared to the current US unemployment insurance policy, the optimal state-contingent unemployment benefits smooth cyclical fluctuations in unemployment and deliver substantial welfare gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Mitman, Kurt & Rabinovich, Stanislav, 2015. "Optimal unemployment insurance in an equilibrium business-cycle model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 99-118.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:71:y:2015:i:c:p:99-118
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoneco.2014.11.009
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