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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. Boone, J. & Bovenberg, A.L., 2002. "The Optimal Taxation of UnskilIed Labor with Job Search and Social Assistance," Discussion Paper 2002-57, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Holmlund, B. & Kolm, A.S., 1995. "Progressive Taxation, Wage Setting and Unemployment - Theory and Swedish Evidence," Papers 15, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  3. Barbara Petrongolo & Christopher Pissarides, 2000. "Looking into the black box: a survey of the matching function," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2122, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  5. Boone, J. & Fredriksson, P. & Holmlund, B. & van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Discussion Paper 2001-85, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C., 2000. "Modeling Financial Incentives to Get Unemployed Back to Work," IZA Discussion Papers 108, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 1635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jan Boone & Ruud de Mooij, 2000. "Tax policy in a model of search with training," CPB Research Memorandum 161, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  9. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  10. Manning, Alan, 2004. "Monopsony and the efficiency of labour market interventions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 145-163, April.
  11. Boone, Jan & Bovenberg, A Lans, 2001. "Optimal Labour Taxation and Search," CEPR Discussion Papers 3002, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1999. "Optimal tax progressivity in imperfect labour markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 435-452, September.
  13. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff, 1999. "Monitoring Job Search as an Instrument for Targeting Transfers," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 71, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  14. Hopenhayn, H. & Nicolini, P.J., 1996. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," RCER Working Papers 421, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  15. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  16. Holmlund, B., 1997. "Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," CEPR Discussion Papers 380, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  17. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 370-99, April.
  18. Pissarides, Christopher A., 1998. "The impact of employment tax cuts on unemployment and wages; The role of unemployment benefits and tax structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 155-183, January.
  19. 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.
  20. repec:dgr:kubcen:200185 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. repec:dgr:kubcen:200017 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. 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.
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