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How Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Affects the Duration of Unemployment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Jan C. van Ours

    (Tilburg University, CentER, IZA, and CEPR)

  • Milan Vodopivec

    (World Bank)

Abstract

In this article we investigate the disincentive effects of shortening the potential duration of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. We identify these disincentive effects by exploiting changes in Slovenia's unemployment insurance system—a "natural experiment" that involved substantial reductions in the potential duration of benefits for four groups of workers plus no change in benefits for another group (which served as a natural control). We find that the change had a positive effect on the exit rate from unemployment—to new jobs and other options—for unemployment spells of various lengths and for several categories of unemployed workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan C. van Ours & Milan Vodopivec, 2006. "How Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Affects the Duration of Unemployment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 351-378, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:24:y:2006:i:2:p:351-384
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rafael Lalive & Jan Van Ours & Josef Zweimuller, 2006. "How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 1009-1038.
    2. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search Decisions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
    3. Carling, Kenneth & Edin, Per-Anders & Harkman, Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 1996. "Unemployment duration, unemployment benefits, and labor market programs in Sweden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 313-334, March.
    4. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimuller, Josef, 2004. "Benefit entitlement and unemployment duration: The role of policy endogeneity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2587-2616, December.
    5. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro, 2004. "How does the unemployment insurance system shape the time profile of jobless duration?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 229-234, November.
    6. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 2000. "Extended benefits and the duration of UI spells: evidence from the New Jersey extended benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 107-138, October.
    7. van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2004. "How Changes in Benefits Entitlement Affect Job-Finding: Lessons from the Slovenian "Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1181, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
    9. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro, 2004. "How does the unemployment insurance system shape the time profile of jobless duration?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 229-234, November.
    10. Knut Roed & Tao Zhang, 2003. "Does Unemployment Compensation Affect Unemployment Duration?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 190-206, January.
    11. A.B. Atkinson & J. Micklewright, 1989. "Unemployment Compensation and Labour Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Working Papers 209, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
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