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Should Unemployment Benefits be Related to Previous Earnings?

Listed author(s):
  • Burkhard Heer

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.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2002/wp-cesifo-2002-07/747.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 747.

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Date of creation: 2002
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_747
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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.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 893-928, October.
  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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