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Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard: Quantitative Implications for Unemployment Insurance

I construct a dynamic contracting model of optimal unemployment insurance with adverse selection and moral hazard that captures the transition from unemployment to non-participation observed in the data, which the standard moral hazard model fails to capture. My model generates both qualitative and quantitative implications for the optimal provision of unemployment insurance. Qualitatively, for some agents, incentives in the optimal contract imply consumption increases over the duration of non-employment. Quantitatively, I compare the current U.S. system to the optimal one, and find large cost savings to adopting the optimal contract. The optimal contract achieves an additional 46% of cost savings relative to a planner who ignores adverse selection and focuses only on moral hazard. I also find the current transition from unemployment to non-participation to be efficient, and when compared to the current U.S. system, the optimal contract implies agents experiencing a long spell of non-participation have consumption increasing over the spell.

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Paper provided by Concordia University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 12004.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision: Sep 2011
Handle: RePEc:crd:wpaper:12004
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  1. Marcus Hagedorn & Ashok Kaul, 2004. "An Adverse Selection Model of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," 2004 Meeting Papers 331, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Stephen D., 2002. "Moral hazard, optimal unemployment insurance, and experience rating," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1337-1371, October.
  3. Stéphane Auray & David L. Fuller & damba Lkhagvasuren, 2013. "Unemployment Insurance Take-up Rate"s in an Equilibrium Search Model," Working Papers 2013-12, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  4. Pietro Garibaldi & Etienne Wasmer, 2005. "Equilibrium Search Unemployment, Endogenous Participation and Labor Market Flows," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8921, Sciences Po.
  5. Andrew Atkeson & Robert E Lucas, 2010. "On Efficient Distribution with Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2179, David K. Levine.
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  7. Robert E. Hall & Paul R. Milgrom, 2008. "The Limited Influence of Unemployment on the Wage Bargain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1653-74, September.
  8. Nicola Pavoni, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance, With Human Capital Depreciation, And Duration Dependence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 323-362, 05.
  9. Gautier, Pieter A & Moraga-González, José-Luis & Wolthoff, Ronald, 2007. "Structural Estimation of Search Intensity: Do Non-Employed Workers Search Enough?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6440, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Blank, Rebecca M & Card, David E, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-89, November.
  11. Robert Shimer & Iván Werning, 2005. "Liquidity and insurance for the unemployed," Staff Report 366, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Bryan Engelhardt & David L. Fuller, 2009. "Efficient Labor Force Participation with Search and Bargaining," Working Papers 0909, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2009.
  13. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8921 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  15. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
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  17. Mitchell, Matthew & Zhang, Yuzhe, 2010. "Unemployment insurance with hidden savings," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2078-2107, November.
  18. Pries, Michael & Rogerson, Richard, 2009. "Search frictions and labor market participation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 568-587, July.
  19. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
  20. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Figuring out the Impact of Hidden Savings on Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 541-554, July.
  21. Hugo A. Hopenhayn & Juan Pablo Nicolini, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance and Employment History," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1049-1070.
  22. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
  23. David Fuller & Stephane Auray & Damba Lkhagvasuren, 2013. "Unemployment Insurance Take-up Rates in an Equilibrium Search Model," Working Papers 13001, Concordia University, Department of Economics.
  24. Andolfatto, David & Gomme, Paul, 1996. "Unemployment insurance and labor-market activity in Canada," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 47-82, June.
  25. Steven Shavell & Laurence Weiss, 1978. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 503, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  26. Robert Shimer & Iván Werning, 2006. "On the Optimal Timing of Benefits with Heterogeneous Workers and Human Capital Depreciation," NBER Working Papers 12230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Carl Davidson & Stephen A. Woodbury, 1997. "The Optimal Dole with Risk Aversion, Job Destruction, and Worker Heterogeneity," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 97-47, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  28. Yuzhe Zhang & Matthew Mitchell, 2007. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Hidden Trade," 2007 Meeting Papers 1023, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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