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Why is there a spike in the job finding rate at benefit exhaustion?

  • Boone, Jan
  • van Ours, Jan C

Putting a limit on the duration of unemployment benefits tends to introduce a "spike" in the job finding rate shortly before benefits are exhausted. Current theories explain this spike from workers' behavior. We present a theoretical model in which also the nature of the job matters. End-of-benefit spikes in job finding rates are related to optimizing behavior of unemployed workers who rationally assume that employers will accept delays in the starting date of a new job, especially if these jobs are permanent. We use a dataset on Slovenian unemployment spells to test this prediction and find supporting evidence. We conclude that the spike in the job finding rate suggests that workers exploit unemployment insurance benefits for subsidized leisure.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7525.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7525
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  1. Adamchik, Vera, 1999. " The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on the Probability of Re-employment in Poland," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(1), pages 95-108, 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. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  4. 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.
  5. Lalive, Rafael & van Ours, Jan C. & Zweimüller, Josef, 2004. "How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 1363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 113-118, May.
  8. van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2008. "Does reducing unemployment insurance generosity reduce job match quality?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 684-695, April.
  9. 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.
  10. van Ours, Jan C & Vodopivec, Milan, 2006. "Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Does Not Affect the Quality of Post-Unemployment Jobs: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1990. "Nonstationarity in Job Search Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 255-77, April.
  12. 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.
  13. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  15. van Ours, J.C. & Vodopivec, M., 2006. "Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits does not affect the Quality of Post-Unemployed Jobs : Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Discussion Paper 2006-56, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  16. Lawrence F. Katz & Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance, Recall Expectations, And Unemployment Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 2594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Knut Roed & Tao Zhang, 2003. "Does Unemployment Compensation Affect Unemployment Duration?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 190-206, January.
  18. Jan C. van Ours & Milan Vodopivec, 2006. "How Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Affects the Duration of Unemployment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 351-378, April.
  19. 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.
  20. Vodopivec, Milan, 1995. "Unemployment insurance and duration of unemployment : evidence from Slovenia's transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1552, The World Bank.
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