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Is there always a trade-off between insurance and incentives? The case of unemployment with subsistence constraints

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  • Juliana MESÉN VARGAS

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

  • Bruno VAN DER LINDEN

    (FNRS, UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), CESifo & IZA)

Abstract

This article analyzes the behavioral effects of unemployment benefits (UB) and it characterizes their optimal level when jobless people only survive if they have access to a minimum or subsistence consumption level in each period. To survive when the level of UB is very low, they carry out a subsistence activity. Our model shows that if the level of UB is very low, increasing its level or providing liquidity to the agent can decrease the duration in unemployment; for higher levels of UB we reencounter the standard properties that increasing UB increases duration and that providing liquidity to the agent increases duration (Chetty, 2008). We also show that the optimal level of UB satisfies the Baily-Chetty formula (Baily, 1978, Chetty, 2006), but contrary to Chetty (2008), in our model the gain from insurance cannot be rewritten using sufficient statistics; we show that such decomposition requires specific modeling assumptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Juliana MESÉN VARGAS & Bruno VAN DER LINDEN, 2017. "Is there always a trade-off between insurance and incentives? The case of unemployment with subsistence constraints," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2017014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2017014
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    liquidity effect; scarcity; monetary costs; optimal insurance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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