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Benefit Duration, Unemployment Duration And Job Match Quality: A Regression‐Discontinuity Approach

  • Marco Caliendo
  • Konstantinos Tatsiramos
  • Arne Uhlendorff

The generosity of the Unemployment Insurance system (UI) plays a central role for the job search behavior of unemployed individuals. Standard search theory predicts that an increase in UI benefit generosity, either in terms of benefit duration or entitlement, has a negative impact on the job search activities of the unemployed increasing their unemployment duration. Despite the disincentive effect of UI on unemployment duration, UI benefit generosity may also increase job match quality by allowing individuals to wait for better job offers. In this paper we use a sharp discontinuity in the maximum duration of unemployment benefits in Germany, which increases from 12 months to 18 months at the age of 45, to identify the effect of extended benefit duration on unemployment duration and post-unemployment outcomes. We find a spike in the re-employment hazard for the unemployed workers with 12 months benefit duration, which occurs around benefit exhaustion. This leads to lower unemployment duration compared to their counterparts with 18 months benefit duration. However, we also show that those unemployed who obtain jobs close to and after the time when benefits are exhausted are significantly more likely to exit subsequent employment and receive lower wages compared to their counterparts with extended benefit duration.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (06)
Pages: 604-627

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Handle: RePEc:wly:japmet:v:28:y:2013:i:4:p:604-627
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  1. Rafael Lalive, 2006. "How do Extended Benefits Affect Unemployment Duration? A Regression Discontinuity Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1765, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Card, David & Chetty, Raj & Weber, Andrea, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," IZA Discussion Papers 2590, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. David Card & Phillip B. Levine, 1998. "Extended Benefits and the Duration of UI Spells: Evidence from the New Jersey Extended Benefit Program," NBER Working Papers 6714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. van den Berg, G., 1987. "Nonstationarity in job search theory," Research Memorandum c2b931bf-9cce-4bae-929c-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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  8. John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 2007. "How Do Different Entitlements to Unemployment Benefits Affect the Transitions from Unemployment into Employment?," Working Papers w200711, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
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  12. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1996. "Potential Unemployment Benefit Duration and Spell Length: Lessons from a Quasi-experiment in Austria," CEPR Discussion Papers 1534, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  15. van Ours, Jan C & Vodopivec, Milan, 2006. "Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Does Not Affect the Quality of Post-Unemployment Jobs: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2008. "Does reducing unemployment insurance generosity reduce job match quality?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 684-695, April.
  17. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2002. "Benefit Entitlement and Unemployment Duration: The Role of Policy Endogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 492, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  19. Jan Boone & Jan Ours, 2012. "Why is There a Spike in the Job Finding Rate at Benefit Exhaustion?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(4), pages 413-438, December.
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