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Figuring out the Impact of Hidden Savings on Optimal Unemployment Insurance


  • Narayana Kocherlakota

    (Stanford University)


In this paper, I consider the problem of optimal unemployment insurance in a world in which the unemployed agent's job-finding effort is unobservable and his level of savings is unobservable. I show that the first-order approach is not always valid for this problem, and I argue that the available recursive procedures are not currently computationally feasible. Nonetheless, for the case in which the disutility of effort is linear, I am able to provide a complete characterization of the optimal contract: the agent's consumption is constant while he is unemployed, and jumps up to a higher constant and history-independent level of consumption when he finds a job. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Figuring out the Impact of Hidden Savings on Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 541-554, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:7:y:2004:i:3:p:541-554
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Macho, Ines & Rey, Patrick & Salanie, Bernard, 1994. "Repeated moral hazard: The role of memory, commitment, and the access to credit markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1527-1553, October.
    2. Abraham Arpad & Nicola Pavoni, 2004. "Efficient Allocations, with Moral Hazard and Hidden Borrowing and Lending," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000138, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Stephen E. Spear & Sanjay Srivastava, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617.
    4. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
    5. Noah Williams, 2004. "On Dynamic Principal-Agent Problems in Continuous Time," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000426, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. Doepke, Matthias & Townsend, Robert M., 2006. "Dynamic mechanism design with hidden income and hidden actions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 235-285, January.
    7. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-438, April.
    8. Fernandes, Ana & Phelan, Christopher, 2000. "A Recursive Formulation for Repeated Agency with History Dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 223-247, April.
    9. Harold L. Cole & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2001. "Efficient Allocations with Hidden Income and Hidden Storage," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 523-542.
    10. 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.
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