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The Labor Market Effects of Indexing Unemployment Benefits to Previous Earnings

  • Burkhard Heer

    (Free University of Bolzano-Bozen and CESifo, Munich)

  • Albrecht Morgenstern

    (University of Bonn)

In most Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, unemployment benefits are tied to previous labor earnings. The authors study the progressivity of this indexation with regard to its effects on employment, output, and wages in three non-Walrasian equilibrium models of the labor market. In the cases of decentralized union wage bargaining and search unemployment and Nash wage bargaining, employment, output, and wages increase with the degree of indexation. The indexation of unemployment benefits to previous earnings, however, has no effect in the case of efficiency wages. The results also suggest that a more progressive indexation of unemployment benefits is welfare enhancing if wages are bargained.

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Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 33 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 385-402

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:33:y:2005:i:3:p:385-402
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  1. Christopher Pissarides, 1997. "The impact of employment tax cuts on unemployment and wages : the role of unemployment benefits and tax structure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2332, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  3. Heer, Burkhard, 2002. "The German Unemployment Compensation System: Effects on Aggregate Savings and Wealth Distribution," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 371-94, September.
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  8. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," Seminar Papers 661, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  9. Cahuc, Pierre & Lehmann, Etienne, 2000. "Should unemployment benefits decrease with the unemployment spell?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 135-153, July.
  10. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Working Paper Series 1998:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  11. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. "Miners' Wages in Post-war Britain: An Application of a Model of Trade Union Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380), pages 1003-20, December.
  12. Burdett, Kenneth, 1979. "Unemployment Insurance Payments as a Search Subsidy: A Theoretical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 333-43, July.
  13. 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.
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