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On the optimality of search matching equilibrium when workers are risk averse

  • Etienne LEHMANN

    (Creuset, Université de Saint-Etienne, and Eurequa, Université Paris 1 and Ermes, Université Paris 2)

  • Bruno VAN DER LINDEN

    (FNRS - Belgium and UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) - Belgium)

This papers revisits the normative properties of search-matching economies when workers have concave utility functions. A general equilibrium framework is developed where agents are homogeneous and wages are bargained over. Assuming lump-sum taxation of profits, the optimal allocation of resources is characterized first when information is perfect and second when unemployed people freely choose their search effort. Compared to the first case, the optimum is characterized by imperfect unemployment insurance and lower levels of search intensity and output in the second setting. To decenralize these optima, employees should be unable to extract a rent when information is perfect. An appropriate positive rent is however needed in the second case. When the bargaining power of the workers is given, these outcomes can be implemented through a well-designed non-linear tax schedule and an appropriate level of unemployment benefits. According to the level of the bargaining power, taxation can be progressive or regressive. Negative marginal tax rates are even needed for sufficiently low levels of the bargaining power.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2002023.

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Length: 29
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2002023
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  1. Petrongolo, Barbara & Pissarides, Christopher, 2000. "Looking Into The Black Box: A Survey Of The Matching Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 2409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Working Paper Series 1998:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  4. M. Hungerbühler & E. Lehmann & A. Parmentier & P. Van Der Linden, 2003. "Optimal Income Taxation in an Equilibrium Unemployment Model : Mirrlees meets Pissarides," Working Papers ERMES 0306, ERMES, University Paris 2.
  5. Boone, Jan & Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil & van Ours, Jan, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Working Paper Series 2001:20, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  6. Jan Boone & Ruud A. De Mooij, 2000. "Tax Policy in a Model of Search with Training," CESifo Working Paper Series 232, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Alan Manning, 2001. "Monopsony and the Efficiency of Labour Market Interventions," CEP Discussion Papers dp0514, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. " Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(1), pages 113-41, March.
  9. Jan Boone & Lans Bovenberg, 2003. "The Optimal Taxation of Unskilled Labor with Job Search and Social Assistance," NBER Working Papers 9785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd, 2000. "Is tax progression really good for employment? A model with endogenous hours of work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 79-93, January.
  11. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1997. "The Impact of Employment Tax Cuts on Unemployment and Wages: The Role of Unemployment Benefits and Tax Structure," CEP Discussion Papers dp0361, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Boone, Jan & Bovenberg, Lans, 2002. "Optimal labour taxation and search," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 53-97, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Lockwood, Ben & Manning, Alan, 1993. "Wage setting and the tax system theory and evidence for the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-29, August.
  15. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff, 1999. "Monitoring Job Search as an Instrument for Targeting Transfers," Working Papers 982, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  16. Rosen, Sherwin, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 1144-75, September.
  17. Holmlund, B. & Kolm, A.S., 1995. "Progressive Taxation, Wage Setting, and Unemployment , Theory and Swedish Evidence," Papers 1995-15, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  18. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," NBER Working Papers 7708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
  20. 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.
  21. Jan Boone & Jan C. van Ours, 2000. "Modeling Financial Incentives to Get Unemployed Back to Work," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0973, Econometric Society.
  22. Cahuc, Pierre & Lehmann, Etienne, 2000. "Should unemployment benefits decrease with the unemployment spell?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 135-153, July.
  23. Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1999. "Optimal tax progressivity in imperfect labour markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 435-452, September.
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