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Optimal Unemployment Insurance Design: Time Limits, Monitoring, or Workfare?

  • Peter Fredriksson
  • Bertil Holmlund

This paper analyses crucial design features of unemployment insurance (UI) policies. We examine three different means of improving the efficiency of UI: the duration of benefit payments, monitoring in conjunction with sanctions, and workfare. To that end we develop a quantitative model of equilibrium unemployment. The model features worker heterogeneity, which takes the form of differences in preferences for leisure. All the instruments are ways of limiting the duration of UI benefit receipt and the model can be used to compare them in a coherent fashion. The analysis suggests that a system with monitoring and sanctions restores search incentives most effectively, since it brings additional incentives to search actively so as to avoid the sanction. Therefore, the UI provider can offer a more generous UI replacement rate in a system with monitoring and sanctions than in the other two systems. Workfare appears to be inferior to the other two systems.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2003/wp-cesifo-2003-08/cesifo1_wp1019.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1019.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1019
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  1. Beaudry, Paul & Blackorby, Charles, 2004. "Taxes And Employment Subsidies In Optimal Redistribution Programs," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 708, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment insurance and job search decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  3. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, 07.
  4. van den Berg, Gerard J & van der Klaauw, Bas & van Ours, Jan C, 2000. "Punitive Sanctions and the Transition Rate From Welfare to Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 2447, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  6. Claus T. Hansen & Torben Tranaes, 2000. "Optimal Workfare in a Society of Workers and Non-Workers," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0758, Econometric Society.
  7. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 1999. "Is the Threat of Training More Effective Than Training Itself? Experimental Evidence from the UI System," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9913, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  8. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2003. "Improving incentives in unemployment insurance: A review of recent research," Working Paper Series 2003:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  9. Jan Boone & Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund & Jan C. van Ours, 2007. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 399-421, 03.
  10. Wang, C. & Williamson, S., 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," GSIA Working Papers 1995-13, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  11. Jan Boone & Jan C. van Ours, 2000. "Modeling Financial Incentives to Get Unemployed Back to Work," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0973, Econometric Society.
  12. Terry R. Johnson & Daniel H. Klepinger, 1994. "Experimental Evidence on Unemployment Insurance Work-Search Policies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 665-717.
  13. Steven Shavell & Laurence Weiss, 1978. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 503, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. Rafael Lalive & Jan C. van Ours & Josef Zweimüller, 2005. "The Effect Of Benefit Sanctions On The Duration Of Unemployment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1386-1417, December.
  15. 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.
  16. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
  17. Davidson, Carl & Woodbury, Stephen A., 1997. "Optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 359-387, June.
  18. Gerard van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2000. "Counseling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Social Experiment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0972, Econometric Society.
  19. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Torben Tranæs, 2003. "Optimal Workfare with Voluntary and Involuntary Unemployment," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-15, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Aug 2004.
  20. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  21. 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.
  22. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  23. John Hassler & José V. Rodriguez Mora, 2002. "Should UI Benefits Really Fall over Time?," CESifo Working Paper Series 804, CESifo Group Munich.
  24. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "The Design of Income Maintenance Programmes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 187-221, April.
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