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Scraping by: Income and Program Participation After the Loss of Extended Unemployment Benefits

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  • Jesse Rothstein
  • Robert G. Valletta

Abstract

Many Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients do not find new jobs before exhausting their benefits, even when benefits are extended during recessions. Using Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) panel data covering the 2001 and 2007 to 2009 recessions and their aftermaths, we identify individuals whose jobless spells outlasted their UI benefits (exhaustees) and examine household income, program participation, and health‐related outcomes during the six months following UI exhaustion. For the average exhaustee, the loss of UI benefits is only slightly offset by increased participation in other safety net programs (e.g., food stamps), and family poverty rates rise substantially. Self‐reported disability also rises following UI exhaustion. These patterns do not vary dramatically across household demographic groups, broad income level prior to job loss, or the two business cycles. The results highlight the unique, important role of UI in the U.S. social safety net.

Suggested Citation

  • Jesse Rothstein & Robert G. Valletta, 2017. "Scraping by: Income and Program Participation After the Loss of Extended Unemployment Benefits," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(4), pages 880-908, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:36:y:2017:i:4:p:880-908
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.22018
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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