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Revisiting the Effects of Unemployment Insurance Extensions on Unemployment: A Measurement Error-Corrected Regression Discontinuity Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Steven Dieterle
  • Otávio Bartalotti
  • Quentin Brummet

Abstract

The extension of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits was a key policy response to the Great Recession. However, these benefit extensions may have had detrimental labor market effects. While evidence on the individual labor supply response indicates small effects on unemployment, recent work by Hagedorn et al. (2015) uses a county border pair identification strategy to find that the total effects inclusive of effects on labor demand are substantially larger. By focusing on variation within border county pairs, this identification strategy requires counties in the pairs to be similar in terms of unobservable factors. We explore this assumption using an alternative regression discontinuity approach that controls for changes in unobservables by distance to the border. To do so, we must account for measurement error induced by using county-level aggregates. These new results provide no evidence of a large change in unemployment induced by differences in UI generosity across state boundaries. Further analysis suggests that individuals respond to UI benefit differences across boundaries by targeting job search in high-benefit states, thereby raising concerns of treatment spillovers in this setting. Taken together, these two results suggest that the effect of UI benefit extensions on unemployment remains an open question.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Dieterle & Otávio Bartalotti & Quentin Brummet, 2016. "Revisiting the Effects of Unemployment Insurance Extensions on Unemployment: A Measurement Error-Corrected Regression Discontinuity Approach," CARRA Working Papers 2016-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:cpaper:2016-01
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    File URL: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/working-papers/2016/adrm/carra-wp-2016-01.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2016. "The Limited Macroeconomic Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions," NBER Working Papers 22163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. von Buxhoeveden, Mathias, 2019. "Unemployment insurance and wage formation," Working Paper Series 2019:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    3. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2018. "A Macroeconomic Approach to Optimal Unemployment Insurance: Applications," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 182-216, May.
    4. Andrew Figura & David Ratner, 2017. "How Large were the Effects of Emergency and Extended Benefits on Unemployment during the Great Recession and its Aftermath?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-068, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    boundaries; UI;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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