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Optimal unemployment insurance design: Time limits, monitoring, or workfare?

  • Peter Fredriksson


  • Bertil Holmlund


This paper analyses crucial design features of unemployment insurance (UI) policies. We examine three different means of improving the efficiency of UI: the duration of benefit payments, monitoring in conjunction with sanctions, and workfare. To that end we develop a quantitative model of equilibrium unemployment. The model features worker heterogeneity in preferences for leisure. The analysis suggests that a system with monitoring and sanctions restores search incentives most effectively, since it brings additional incentives to search actively so as to avoid the sanction. Therefore, the UI provider can offer a more generous UI replacement rate in a system with monitoring and sanctions than in the other two systems. Workfare appears to be inferior to the other two systems. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

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Article provided by Springer & International Institute of Public Finance in its journal International Tax and Public Finance.

Volume (Year): 13 (2006)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 565-585

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Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:13:y:2006:i:5:p:565-585
DOI: 10.1007/s10797-006-6249-3
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  6. Lalive, Rafael & van Ours, Jan C & Zweimüller, Josef, 2002. "The Effect of Benefit Sanctions on the Duration of Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 3311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
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  16. Jeffrey Smith, 2000. "Is the Threat of Training More Effective than Training Itself? Experimental Evidence from the UI System," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1660, Econometric Society.
  17. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2006. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 357-386, 07.
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