IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/qjecon/v127y2012i2p701-752.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Effects of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over 20 Years

Author

Listed:
  • Johannes F. Schmieder
  • Till von Wachter
  • Stefan Bender

Abstract

One goal of extending the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) in recessions is to increase UI coverage in the face of longer unemployment spells. Although it is a common concern that such extensions may themselves raise nonemployment durations, it is not known how recessions would affect the magnitude of this moral hazard. To obtain causal estimates of the differential effects of UI in booms and recessions, this article exploits the fact that in Germany, potential UI benefit duration is a function of exact age which is itself invariant over the business cycle. We implement a regression discontinuity design separately for 20 years and correlate our estimates with measures of the business cycle. We find that the nonemployment effects of a month of additional UI benefits are, at best, somewhat declining in recessions. Yet the UI exhaustion rate, and therefore the additional coverage provided by UI extensions, rises substantially during a downturn. The ratio of these two effects represents the nonemployment response of workers weighted by the probability of being affected by UI extensions. Hence, our results imply that the effective moral hazard effect of UI extensions is significantly lower in recessions than in booms. Using a model of job search with liquidity constraints, we also find that in the absence of market-wide effects, the net social benefits from UI extensions can be expressed either directly in terms of the exhaustion rate and the nonemployment effect of UI durations, or as a declining function of our measure of effective moral hazard. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Effects of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over 20 Years," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 701-752.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:127:y:2012:i:2:p:701-752
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjs010
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:127:y:2012:i:2:p:701-752. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.