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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)


    (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. 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.
  2. Boone, Jan & Bovenberg, A Lans, 2001. "Optimal Labour Taxation and Search," CEPR Discussion Papers 3002, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:3:p:1039-1073 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Boone, J. & de Mooij, R.A., 2000. "Tax Policy in a Model of Search with Training," Discussion Paper 2000-07, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Manning, Alan, 2004. "Monopsony and the efficiency of labour market interventions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 145-163, April.
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  9. Rosen, Sherwin, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 1144-75, September.
  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.
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  13. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-62, December.
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  15. 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.
  16. Fredriksson, P. & Holmlund, B., 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Papers 1998-2, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  17. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," NBER Working Papers 7708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1999. "Optimal tax progressivity in imperfect labour markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 435-452, September.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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