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Incentive Contracts and Efficient Unemployment Benefits

  • Dominique Demougin
  • Carsten Helm

Several European countries have reformed their labor market institutions. Incentive effects of unemployment benefits have been an important aspect of these reforms. We analyze this issue in a principal-agent model, focusing on unemployment levels and labor productivity. In our model, a higher level of unemployment benefits improves the works position in wage bargaining, leading to stronger effort incentives and higher output. However, it also reduces incentives for labor market participation. Accordingly, there is a trade-off. We analyze how changes in the economic environment such as globalization and better educated works affect this trade-off.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2670.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2670
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521576475 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. 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 1347-62, December.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 6686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Luca Nunziata, 2005. "Institutions and Wage Determination: a Multi-country Approach," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(4), pages 435-466, 08.
  5. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," Seminar Papers 661, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  6. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Stephen, 1996. "Unemployment insurance with moral hazard in a dynamic economy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-41, June.
  7. Lalive, R. & van Ours, J.C. & Zweimüller, J., 2004. "How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment," Discussion Paper 2004-86, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2004. "Why Are European Countries Diverging in Their Unemployment Experience?," IZA Discussion Papers 1066, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Productivity Gains from Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 99-29, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Hungerbühler, Mathias & Lehmann, Etienne, 2007. "On the Optimality of a Minimum Wage: New Insights from Optimal Tax Theory," IZA Discussion Papers 2957, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  12. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  13. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," NBER Working Papers 10310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2003. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," Working Paper Series 2003:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  15. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
  16. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Working Paper Series 1998:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  17. Holmlund, B., 1997. "Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Papers 1997-25, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  18. Jacobi, Lena & Kluve, Jochen, 2007. "Before and after the Hartz reforms: The performance of active labour market policy in Germany," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 40(1), pages 45-64.
  19. Paul L. Burgess & Jerry L. Kingston, 1976. "The impact of unemployment insurance benefits on reemployment success," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(1), pages 25-31, October.
  20. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  21. Son Ku Kim, 1997. "Limited Liability and Bonus Contracts," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 899-913, December.
  22. Albert van der Horst, 2003. "Structural Estimates of Equilibrium Unemployment in Six OECD Economies," Economics Working Papers 022, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  23. Hopenhayn, H. & Nicolini, P.J., 1996. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," RCER Working Papers 421, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  24. Diamond, Peter A, 1981. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment, and Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 798-812, August.
  25. Pitchford, Rohan, 1998. "Moral hazard and limited liability: The real effects of contract bargaining," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 251-259, November.
  26. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
  27. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, 01.
  28. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  31. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:40:i:1:p:45-64 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Dominique Demougin & Carsten Helm, 2006. "Moral Hazard and Bargaining Power," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7, pages 463-470, November.
  33. 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.
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