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Should Unemployment Benefits be Related to Previous Earnings?

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  • Burkhard Heer

Abstract

In most OECD countries, unemployment benefits are tied to individual previous labor earnings. We study the progressivity of this indexation with regard to its effects on employment, output, and welfare in a calibrated general equilibrium model with search unemployment. Employment varies endogenously on both the intensive margin and the extensive margins as agents choose their labor supply (if employed) or their search effort (if unemployed) in order to optimize life-time utility. Compared to the case of lump-sum unemployment compensation, a system of insurance payments that are related to past contributions results in higher output and welfare. The effects on employment are negligible as employed workers rather accumulate more savings than to supply additional work in order to insure against the loss of employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Burkhard Heer, 2002. "Should Unemployment Benefits be Related to Previous Earnings?," CESifo Working Paper Series 747, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_747
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hansen, G D, 1993. "The Cyclical and Secular Behaviour of the Labour Input: Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 71-80, Jan.-Marc.
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    3. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Unemployment versus Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," CEPR Discussion Papers 1769, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo, 2000. "Understanding why high income households save more than low income households," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 361-397, April.
    5. Heer, Burkhard, 2003. "Employment and Welfare Effects of a Two-Tier Unemployment Compensation System," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(2), pages 147-168, March.
    6. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-142, February.
    7. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
    8. Heer, Burkhard & Trede, Mark, 2003. "Efficiency and distribution effects of a revenue-neutral income tax reform," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 87-107, March.
    9. W. Henry Chiu & Edi Karni, 1998. "Endogenous Adverse Selection and Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 806-827, August.
    10. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
    11. Burkhard Heer, 2006. "Should Unemployment Benefits Be Related to Previous Earnings?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(4), pages 530-550, December.
    12. Burdett, Kenneth, 1979. "Unemployment Insurance Payments as a Search Subsidy: A Theoretical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 333-343, July.
    13. Heer, Burkhard, 2002. "The German Unemployment Compensation System: Effects on Aggregate Savings and Wealth Distribution," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 371-394, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrey Launov & Klaus Wälde, 2013. "Estimating Incentive And Welfare Effects Of Nonstationary Unemployment Benefits," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 1159-1198, November.
    2. Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg & Heinrich Ursprung, 2010. "A positive theory of the earnings relationship of unemployment benefits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 137-163, October.
    3. Burkhard Heer, 2006. "Should Unemployment Benefits Be Related to Previous Earnings?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(4), pages 530-550, December.
    4. Niklas Potrafke, 2010. "Labor market deregulation and globalization: empirical evidence from OECD countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(3), pages 545-571, September.
    5. Luca Gori & Luciano Fanti, 2009. "Monopoly union, unemployment benefits and labour taxes: The unemployment problem revisited," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(1), pages 482-490.
    6. Corrado Andini, 2013. "How well does a dynamic Mincer equation fit NLSY data? Evidence based on a simple wage-bargaining model," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 1519-1543, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings-related unemployment benefits; search unemployment; computable general equilibrium; overlapping generations;

    JEL classification:

    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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