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The Unemployment Benefit System: a Redistributive or an Insurance Institution?

  • Fernando Sanchez Losada
  • Daniel Cardona

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

In this paper we analyze how the composition of labor taxation affects unemployment in a unionized economy with capital accumulation and an unemployment benefit system. We show that if the unemployment benefit system is gross Bismarckian then the unemployment rate is reduced if wage taxes are decreased (and thus payroll taxes are increased). However, if the unemployment benefit system is net Bismarckian then the unemployment rate does not depend on how the system is financed. Besides, in a Beveridgean system the labor tax composition does not affect the unemployment rate if and only if the unemployed do not pay taxes and the employed pay a constant marginal tax rate. We also analyze when an unemployment benefit budget-balanced rule makes the economy to have a hysteresis process.

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Paper provided by Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 129.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bar:bedcje:2005129
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Espai de Recerca en Economia, Facultat de Ciències Econòmiques. Tinent Coronel Valenzuela, Num 1-11 08034 Barcelona. Spain.

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  1. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, . "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," Working Papers 122, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Jörg Lingens & Klaus Wälde, 2007. "Pareto-Improving Unemployment Policies," Working Papers 2007_34, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  3. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 1999. "Does the composition of wage and payroll taxes matter under Nash bargaining?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 343-349, September.
  4. Koskela, Erkki, 2001. "Labour taxation and employment in trade union models : a partial survey," Research Discussion Papers 19/2001, Bank of Finland.
  5. Nickell, S. & Layard, R., 1997. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  6. Daniel Cardona & Fernando Sánchez-Losada, 2006. "Unions, qualification choice, and output," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 50-76, January.
  7. Layard, R. & Nickell, S., 1988. "Is Unemployment Lower If Unions Bargain Over Employment?," Papers 308, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  8. Thomas Beissinger & Hartmut Egger, 2004. "Dynamic wage bargaining if benefits are tied to individual wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 437-460, July.
  9. Lockwood, Ben & Manning, Alan, 1993. "Wage setting and the tax system theory and evidence for the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-29, August.
  10. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 370-99, April.
  11. Holm, Pasi & Honkapohja, Seppo & Koskela, Erkki, 1994. "A monopoly-union model of wage determination with capital and taxes: An empirical application to the Finnish manufacturing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 285-303, February.
  12. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, June.
  13. Albrecht, James W & Vroman, Susan B, 1999. "Unemployment Compensation Finance and Efficiency Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 141-67, January.
  14. Creedy, John & McDonald, Ian M, 1991. "Models of Trade Union Behaviour: A Synthesis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 67(199), pages 346-59, December.
  15. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:62:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:62:p:05 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Goerke, Laszlo & Madsen, Jakob B., 2003. "Earnings-related unemployment benefits and unemployment," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 41-62, March.
  18. Oswald, A. J., 1995. "Efficient contracts are on the labour demand curve: Theory and facts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 102-102, March.
  19. Koskela, Erkki & Vilmunen, Jouko, 1996. "Tax progression is good for employment in popular models of trade union behaviour," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-80, August.
  20. Manning, Alan, 1993. "Wage Bargaining and the Phillips Curve: The Identification and Specification of Aggregate Wage Equations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 98-118, January.
  21. Picard, Pierre, 1998. "Optimal Employment Subsidy to Heterogeneous Workers under Asymmetric Information," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1998009, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  22. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen, 1986. "Unemployment in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S121-69, Supplemen.
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