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The Longterm Effects of UI Extensions on Employment


  • Johannes F. Schmieder

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University and IZA)

  • Till von Wachter

    () (Columbia University,NBER, CEPR, and IZA)

  • Stefan Bender

    () (Institute for Employment Research (IAB))


The effect of extending the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits on nonem- ployment duration is a hotly debated question. The vast majority of the literature (e.g., Katz and Meyer 1990, Schmieder, von Wachter, and Bender 2012) [henceforth SVB]) analyzes the e ect of extensions in UI durations or increases in UI benefits on the initial nonemployment spell. This may lead to an understatement of the cost of UI extensions, if such extensions increase the incidence of nonemployment beyond the initial spell, as would be predicted by models of stigma, skill depreciation, or supply-side hysteresis (e.g., Blanchard and Diamond 1994, Lemieux and MacLeod 2000). On the other hand, these estimates may overstate em- ployment e ects if longer initial spells tend to reduce future incidence of nonemployment. This might arise because of an increase in individual labor supply, for example due to lower income. In addition, with a nite lifetime (or a nite follow-up period) the nonemployment e ect can also decline mechanically. This can arise since at a given, say, monthly probability of being unemployed, individuals with longer initial spells accumulate less time in nonem- ployment due to a shorter remaining lifetime. Despite these alternative hypotheses, little is known about the longer-term effect of UI extensions on employment. In this paper, we make two contributions. First, we use a regression discontinuity de- sign to analyze the long-term effects of extensions in UI durations. These estimates differ from standard estimates that they incorporate di erences in UI bene t receipt and employ- ment due to recurrent unemployment spells. Second, we extend the welfare formula of UI extensions from SVB to incorporate recurrent nonemployment spells.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2011. "The Longterm Effects of UI Extensions on Employment," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-064, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-064

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    2. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1994. "Ranking, Unemployment Duration, and Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 417-434.
    3. Lemieux, Thomas & MacLeod, W. Bentley, 2000. "Supply side hysteresis: the case of the Canadian unemployment insurance system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 139-170, October.
    4. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    5. Johannes F. Schmieder† & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2011. "The Effects Of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over The Business Cycle: Evidence From Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over Twenty Years," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-063, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schmieder, Johannes F & Trenkle, Simon, 2020. "Disincentive effects of unemployment benefits and the role of caseworkers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    2. Le Barbanchon, Thomas & Rathelot, Roland & Roulet, Alexandra, 2019. "Unemployment insurance and reservation wages: Evidence from administrative data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 1-17.
    3. Gonzalez-Rozada, Martin & Ruffo, Hernán, 2016. "Optimal unemployment benefits in the presence of informal labor markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 204-227.
    4. Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2013. "Matching with Couples: Stability and Incentives in Large Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(4), pages 1585-1632.
    5. Kambayashi, Ryo & Kato, Takao, 2012. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, and the Great Recession: Lessons from Japan's Lost Decade," IZA Discussion Papers 6666, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Sara Rica & Yolanda F. Rebollo-Sanz, 2017. "Gender Differentials in Unemployment Ins and Outs during the Great Recession in Spain," De Economist, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 67-99, March.
    7. Gibran da Silva Teixeira & Giácomo Balbinotto Neto & Pedro Henrique Soares Leivas, 2020. "Evidence on Rule Manipulation and Moral Hazard in the Brazilian Unemployment Insurance Program," International Journal of Social Science Studies, Redfame publishing, vol. 8(1), pages 67-78, January.
    8. De Groot, Nynke & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2014. "The Effects of Reducing the Entitlement Period to Unemployment Insurance Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 8336, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Springer, Angelina, 2013. "Selbstständige Leistungsbezieher in der Arbeitslosenversicherung : empirische Befunde zum Versicherungspflichtverhältnis auf Antrag," IAB-Forschungsbericht 201315, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    10. Stefan Bender & Nicholas Bloom & David Card & John Van Reenen & Stefanie Wolter, 2018. "Management Practices, Workforce Selection, and Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 371-409.
    11. Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Jan C. Ours, 2014. "Labor Market Effects Of Unemployment Insurance Design," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 284-311, April.
    12. repec:udt:wpecon:2016-03 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Gartner, Hermann & Rothe, Thomas & Weber, Enzo, "undated". "The quality-weighted matching function: Did the German labour market reforms trade of efficiency against job quality?," IAB Discussion Paper 201924, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    14. Le Barbanchon, Thomas, 2016. "The effect of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on unemployment exits to work and match quality in France," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 16-29.
    15. Joanne W. Hsu & David A. Matsa & Brian T. Melzer, 2014. "Positive Externalities of Social Insurance: Unemployment Insurance and Consumer Credit," NBER Working Papers 20353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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