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Benefits and drawbacks of European Unemployment Insurance

Author

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  • Grégory Claeys
  • Zsolt Darvas
  • Guntram B. Wolff

Abstract

Prepared for the ECOFIN in Milan on 13 September 2014. See also interactive simulation to design your own EUI scheme. The issue Unemployment in Europe has increased to high levels and economic growth has remained subdued. A debate on additional policy instruments to address the situation is therefore warranted. Fiscal stabilisation mechanisms have not provided adequate fiscal stabilisation during the crisis in some countries nor in the euro area as a whole. Different preferences and historical developments mean that national labour markets are differently organised, which sometimes hinders the efficient working of the monetary union. European Unemployment Insurance (EUI) has been proposed as a measure to contribute to fiscal policy management and improve labour markets. Policy challenge European Unemployment Insurance is one option for stabilising country specific economic cycles thanks to risk sharing, but it would not substantively influence the area-wide fiscal stance. Moral hazard problems are significant but can be reduced by a less generous design and more harmonisation of labour markets. The former would, however, reducethe scheme’s stabilisation effect. Reform and harmonisation of labour markets would improve the functioning of monetary union, but would undermine long-standing preferences and ideals which the subsidiarity principle guarantees. The complexity of the design and implementation of EUI and the question of the rightlegal base suggests that it would be a long-term project and not a measure to help quickly the millions currently unemployed.

Suggested Citation

  • Grégory Claeys & Zsolt Darvas & Guntram B. Wolff, 2014. "Benefits and drawbacks of European Unemployment Insurance," Policy Briefs 847, Bruegel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bre:polbrf:847
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    Cited by:

    1. Boeri, Tito & Jimeno, Juan Francisco, 2015. "The unbearable divergence of unemployment in Europe," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65001, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl, 2018. "An unemployment insurance scheme for the euro area? A comparison of different alternatives using microdata," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(1), pages 273-309, February.
    3. Étienne Farvaque & Florence Huart, 2016. "Drowned by Numbers? Designing an EU-wide Unemployment Insurance," CIRANO Working Papers 2016s-33, CIRANO.
    4. Hebous, Shafik & Weichenrieder, Alfons J., 2015. "On deficits and symmetries in a fiscal capacity," SAFE Working Paper Series 112, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    5. Boeri, Tito & Jimeno, Juan F., 2016. "Learning from the Great Divergence in unemployment in Europe during the crisis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 32-46.
    6. Léo Aparisi de Lannoy & Xavier Ragot, 2017. "Une (ré) assurance chômage européenne," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/69i5rbio799, Sciences Po.
    7. Shafik Hebous & Alfons Weichenrieder, 2016. "Toward a Mutualization of European Unemployment Insurance? On Limiting the Downsides of a Fiscal Transfer System for the Eurozone," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 62(2), pages 376-395.
    8. Adam S. Posen & Ajai Chopra & Angel Ubide & Paolo Mauro & Jacob Funk Kirkegaard & Nicolas Veron, 2014. "Rebuilding Europe's Common Future: Combining Growth and Reform in the Euro Area," PIIE Briefings PIIEB14-5, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    9. Walpurga Köhler-Töglhofer & Alfred Stiglbauer, 2014. "A Common European Unemployment Insurance – A Much Debated Route toward European Fiscal Union," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 4, pages 35-52.
    10. Oliver Picek & Enno Schröder, 2017. "Euro area imbalances: How much could an expansion in the North help the South?," IMK Working Paper 180-2017, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.

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