The Impact of Reemployment Bonuses on Insured Unemployment in the New Jersey and Illinois Reemployment Bonus Experiments
Separate social experiments conducted in New Jersey and Illinois tested the effect of offering Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants a cash bonus for rapid reemployment. The Illinois bonus was constant over time, while the New Jersey bonus declined over time, so that the bonus received was greater the earlier that reemployment occurred. This paper compares the effects of the bonus offers on the rate at which claimants exited UI. The New Jersey and Illinois bonus offers generated similar increases in the UI exit rate during the period in which claimants could qualify for the bonus. However, the declining New Jersey bonus had little impact on long-term claimants who exhausted their UI benefits. In contrast, the constant Illinois bonus had a substantial impact on long-term claimants, thereby reducing the rate at which claimants exhausted their UI benefits. This finding at least partly explains why the Illinois bonus had a larger impact on UI receipt than the New Jersey bonus.