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How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment

  • Rafael Lalive
  • Jan C. van Ours
  • Josef Zweimüller

This paper studies how changes in the two key parameters of unemployment insurance – the benefit replacement rate (RR) and the potential duration of benefits (PBD) – affect the duration of unemployment. In 1989, the Austrian government made unemployment insurance more generous by changing, simultaneously, the maximum duration of regular unemployment benefits and the earnings replacement ratio. We find that increasing the replacement ratio has much weaker disincentive effects than increasing the maximum duration of benefits. We use these results to split up the total costs to unemployment insurance funds into costs due to changes in the unemployment insurance system and costs due to behavioral responses of unemployed workers. Results indicate that costs due to behavioural responses are substantial.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2004/wp-cesifo-2004-11/cesifo1_wp1337.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1337.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1337
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  1. Katz, Lawrence F. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1990. "The impact of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 45-72, February.
  2. Carling, Kenneth & Holmlund, Bertil & Vejsiu, Altin, 1999. "Do benefit cuts boost job findings? Swedish evidence from the 1990s," Working Paper Series 1999:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. Carling, Kenneth & Edin, Per-Anders & Harkman, Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 1996. "Unemployment duration, unemployment benefits, and labor market programs in Sweden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 313-334, March.
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  14. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1990. "Nonstationarity in Job Search Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 255-77, April.
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  16. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2006. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 357-386, 07.
  17. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2002. "Benefit Entitlement and Unemployment Duration: The Role of Policy Endogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 492, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Burdett, Kenneth, 1979. "Unemployment Insurance Payments as a Search Subsidy: A Theoretical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 333-43, July.
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  22. Moffitt, Robert & Nicholson, Walter, 1982. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance on Unemployment: The Case of Federal Supplemental Benefits," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-11, February.
  23. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1996. "Potential Unemployment Benefit Duration and Spell Length: Lessons from a Quasi-experiment in Austria," CEPR Discussion Papers 1534, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  25. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 2000. "Extended benefits and the duration of UI spells: evidence from the New Jersey extended benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 107-138, October.
  26. 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.
  27. Bratberg, E. & Vaage, K., 2000. "Spell Durations with Long Unemployment Insurance Periods," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 208, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
  28. Ham, John C & Rea, Samuel A, Jr, 1987. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 325-53, July.
  29. Elena Stancanelli, 1999. "Unemployment duration and the duration of entitlement to unemployment benefits: an empirical study for Britain," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(9), pages 1043-1051.
  30. Knut Roed & Tao Zhang, 2003. "Does Unemployment Compensation Affect Unemployment Duration?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 190-206, January.
  31. Steiner, Viktor, 1997. "Extended benefit entitlement periods and the duration of unemployment in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-14, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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