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Why Unemployment Insurance Might Not Only Be Good for the Soul, It Might Also Be Good for the Economy


  • Morris Altman


Contrary to the conventional view that unemployment insurance serves to directly increase the rate of unemployment as well as reducing an economy's competitiveness by increasing the market wage of labor, the argument presented in this paper is that this worldview critically depends on unrealistic behavioral assumptions. A more realistic modeling suggests that unemployment rates need not rise and competitiveness need not deteriorate with the introduction of or improvements in unemployment insurance, which can also induce increases in economic efficiency. These analytical predictions are consistent with the empirics of unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance can therefore protect the unemployed without damaging the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Morris Altman, 2004. "Why Unemployment Insurance Might Not Only Be Good for the Soul, It Might Also Be Good for the Economy," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(4), pages 517-541.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:62:y:2004:i:4:p:517-541
    DOI: 10.1080/0034676042000296245

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    Cited by:

    1. Manuel Couret Branco & Pedro DamiĆ£o Henriques, 2009. "Human Rights as a Tool for Sustainable Development," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2009_11, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).
    2. Altman, Morris, 2014. "Insights from behavioral economics on how labor markets work," Working Paper Series 3466, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.


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