IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Optimal Welfare-to-Work Programs

  • Nicola Pavoni
  • G. L. Violante

A Welfare-to-Work (WTW) program is a mix of government expenditures on various labour market policies targeted to the unemployed (e.g. unemployment insurance (UI), job search monitoring (JM), social assistance (SA), wage subsidies). This paper provides a dynamic principal—agent framework suitable for analysing chief features of an optimal WTW program, such as the sequence and duration of the different policies, the dynamic pattern of payments along the unemployment spell, and the emergence of taxes/subsidies upon re-employment. The optimal program endogenously generates an absorbing policy of last resort (“social assistance”) characterized by a constant lifetime payment and no active participation by the agent. Human capital depreciation is a necessary condition for policy transitions to be part of an optimal WTW program. The typical sequence of policies is quite simple: the program starts with standard UI, then switches into monitored search and, finally, into SA. The optimal benefits are decreasing during unemployment insurance and constant during both JM and SA. Whereas taxes (subsidies) can be either increasing or decreasing with duration during UI, they must decrease (increase) during a phase of JM. In a calibration exercise, we use our model to analyse quantitatively the features of the optimal program for the U.S. economy. With respect to the existing U.S. system, the optimal WTW scheme delivers sizeable welfare gains to unskilled workers because the incentives to search for a job can be retained even while delivering more insurance and using costly monitoring less intensively. Copyright 2007, Wiley-Blackwell.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2007.00422.x
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 74 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 283-318

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:1:p:283-318
Contact details of provider:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1996. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 36, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  2. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Working Paper Series 1998:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Berg, G.J. & Ours, J.C., 1993. "Unemployment dynamics and duration dependence," Serie Research Memoranda 0022, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  4. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2006. "Counseling And Monitoring Of Unemployed Workers: Theory And Evidence From A Controlled Social Experiment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 895-936, 08.
  5. repec:mpr:mprres:3224 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Bruce C. Fallick, 1995. "A review of the recent empirical literature on displaced workers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Thomas Crossley & Hamish Low, 2011. "Borrowing constraints, the cost of precautionary saving and unemployment insurance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(6), pages 658-687, December.
  8. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1989. "Dynamic Labour Force Participation of Married Women and Endogenous Work Experience," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 375-90, July.
  9. Christopher Phelan & Robert M Townsend, 2010. "Computing Multi-Period, Information Constrained Optima," Levine's Working Paper Archive 117, David K. Levine.
  10. Abraham Arpad & Nicola Pavoni, 2004. "Efficient Allocations, with Moral Hazard and Hidden Borrowing and Lending," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000138, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. Nicola Pavoni, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance, With Human Capital Depreciation, And Duration Dependence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 323-362, 05.
  12. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-42, February.
  13. Robert Shimer & Iván Werning, 2005. "Liquidity and insurance for the unemployed," Staff Report 366, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2006. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30.
  15. Gerard van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2000. "Counseling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Social Experiment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0972, Econometric Society.
  16. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1998. "The causes and consequences of long-term unemployment in Europe," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20255, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  18. Williamson, S. & Wang, C., 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Working Papers 95-09, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  19. Nicola Pavoni & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "Optimal welfare-to-work programs," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 143, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Williamson, Stephen D. & Wang, Cheng, 1999. "Moral Hazard, Optimal Unemployment Insurance, and Experience Rating," Working Papers 99-03, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  21. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  22. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1994. "The returns from classroom training for displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  23. Bover, O. & Arellano, M. & Bentolila, S., 1997. "Unemployment Duration, Benefit Duration, and the Business Cycle," Papers 9717, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  24. Steven Shavell & Laurence Weiss, 1978. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 503, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  25. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2003. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000217, David K. Levine.
  26. John P Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence from OECD Countries' Experiences," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Guy Debelle & Jeff Borland (ed.), Unemployment and the Australian Labour Market Reserve Bank of Australia.
  27. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
  28. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 893-928, October.
  29. Newman, Andrew, 2007. "Risk-bearing and Entrepreneurship," CEPR Discussion Papers 6021, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  30. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
  31. Hausman, Jerry A., 1980. "The effect of wages, taxes, and fixed costs on women's labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 161-194, October.
  32. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Aysegul Sahin, 2002. "Unemployment Insurance and the Role of Self-Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 681-703, July.
  33. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  34. V. Joseph Hotz, 2003. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 141-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Jan Boone & Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund & Jan C. van Ours, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," CESifo Working Paper Series 616, CESifo Group Munich.
  36. Robert J. LaLonde, 1995. "The Promise of Public Sector-Sponsored Training Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 149-168, Spring.
  37. van Ours, J.C. & van den Berg, G.J., 1994. "Unemployment Dynamics and Duration Dependence in France, the Netherlands and the UK," Other publications TiSEM 941b66a3-a3a7-4182-9d31-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  38. Christopher Phelan & Ennio Stacchetti, 1999. "Sequential equilibria in a Ramsey tax model," Staff Report 258, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  39. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  40. Flemming, J. S., 1978. "Aspects of optimal unemployment insurance : Search, leisure, savings and capital market imperfections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 403-425, December.
  41. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Prescott, Edward C, 1992. "Stochastic Monotonicity and Stationary Distributions for Dynamic Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1387-406, November.
  42. Olivier Blanchard & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Optimal Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection. A First Pass," NBER Working Papers 10443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  43. Harold L. Cole & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1999. "Efficient allocations with hidden income and hidden storage," Staff Report 238, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  44. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  45. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," NBER Working Papers 7708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  46. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
  47. Guy Laroque, 2005. "Income Maintenance and Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 341-376, 03.
  48. Addison, John T & Portugal, Pedro, 1989. "Job Displacement, Relative Wage Changes, and Duration of Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 281-302, July.
  49. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "Figuring out the impact of hidden savings on optimal unemployment insuranc," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000291, David K. Levine.
  50. Christopher J. Flinn, 1986. "Econometric Analysis of CPS-Type Unemployment Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 456-484.
  51. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  52. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  53. van den Berg, G. & van Ours, J.C., 1996. "Unemployment dynamics and duration dependence," Other publications TiSEM 4374742f-8d86-458d-9ab3-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  54. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
  55. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 1999. "Unemployment Insurance Benefit Levels and Consumption Changes," CEPR Discussion Papers 405, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  56. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 2002. "Active labour market policy vs employment tax credits: lessons from recent UK reforms," Working Paper Series 2002:1, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  57. Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-66, September.
  58. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  59. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
  60. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
  61. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  62. Blank, Rebecca M., 1989. "Analyzing the length of welfare spells," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 245-273, August.
  63. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  64. van den Berg, Gerard J & van Ours, Jan C, 1994. "Unemployment Dynamics and Duration Dependence in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 432-43, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:1:p:283-318. 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)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.