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Takeup, social multipliers and optimal social insurance

  • Kroft, Kory
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    This paper examines the optimal provision of unemployment insurance (UI) in a framework that accounts for behavioral responses along both the intensive and extensive margins. Two formulations of takeup are considered: in the first, individuals face a takeup cost that is exogenous; in the second, the cost depends endogenously on the takeup rate. Such endogenous costs to takeup lead to a social multiplier, a reduced-form parameter summarizing the strength of social interactions. This paper derives a formula for the optimal replacement rate in terms of the takeup and duration elasticities, and the social multiplier. The formula is applied by estimating the social multiplier using policy variation in UI benefit levels. The results suggest that social multiplier effects account for 35% of the total effect of UI on takeup and yield an optimal replacement rate around 60% of pre-unemployment wages, 20% higher than previous estimates.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

    Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
    Pages: 722-737

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:3-4:p:722-737
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