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Front-loading the Payment of Unemployment Benefits

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  • Etienne Lalé

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Abstract

We study the effects of front-loading the payment of unemployment benefits in an equilibrium matching framework with precautionary savings. Front-loading the benefit system trades off fewer means to smooth consumption at long unemployment durations for improved insurance upon job loss. In the United States where jobless spells are typically frequent but short, we find that front-loading the benefit system yields significant welfare gains for new benefit recipients. The gains are lower in the aggregate, but are not completely offset by general equilibrium effects. Comparison with a search effort model shows that the welfare figures are not specific to matching frictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Etienne Lalé, 2014. "Front-loading the Payment of Unemployment Benefits," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 15/651, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK, revised 16 Nov 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:15/651
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    File URL: http://www.efm.bris.ac.uk/economics/working_papers/pdffiles/dp15651.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-1362, December.
    2. Olga Gorbachev, 2011. "Did Household Consumption Become More Volatile?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2248-2270, August.
    3. S. Nuray Akin & Brennan Platt, 2012. "Running Out of Time: Limited Unemployment Benefits and Reservation Wages," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 149-170, April.
    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. 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.
    6. Young, Eric R., 2004. "Unemployment insurance and capital accumulation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1683-1710, November.
    7. Cahuc, Pierre & Lehmann, Etienne, 2000. "Should unemployment benefits decrease with the unemployment spell?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 135-153, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment Insurance; Precautionary Savings; Labor-Market Frictions; Welfare Effect.;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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