IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Benefit-Entitlement Effects and the Duration of Unemployment: An Ex-ante Evaluation of Recent Labour Market Reforms in Germany


  • Hendrik Schmitz
  • Viktor Steiner


We analyse benefit-entitlement effects and the likely impact of the recent reform of the unemployment compensation system on the duration of unemployment in Germany on the basis of a flexible discrete-time hazard rate model estimated on pre-reform data from the German Socioeconomic Panel. We find (i) relatively strong benefit-entitlement effects for the unemployed who are eligible to means-tested unemployment assistance after the exhaustion of unemployment benefit, but not for those without such entitlement; (ii) that benefit-entitlement effects on hazard rates are not monotonic in time to benefit-exhaustion but rather occur around the month of benefit-exhaustion, and (iii) relatively small marginal effects of the amount of unemployment compensation on the duration of unemployment. Simulation results show that the recent labour market reform is unlikely to have a major impact on the average duration of unemployment in the population as a whole, but will significantly reduce the level of long-term unemployment among older workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik Schmitz & Viktor Steiner, 2007. "Benefit-Entitlement Effects and the Duration of Unemployment: An Ex-ante Evaluation of Recent Labour Market Reforms in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 46, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp46

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
    2. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-782, July.
    3. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392 Elsevier.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    5. Bernd Fitzenberger & Ralf A. Wilke, 2010. "Unemployment Durations in West Germany Before and After the Reform of the Unemployment Compensation System during the 1980s," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 336-366, August.
    6. Mortensen, Dale T., 1987. "Job search and labor market analysis," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 849-919 Elsevier.
    7. Katz, Lawrence F. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1990. "The impact of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 45-72, February.
    8. Moffitt, Robert & Nicholson, Walter, 1982. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance on Unemployment: The Case of Federal Supplemental Benefits," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-11, February.
    9. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
    10. Steiner, Viktor, 2001. " Unemployment Persistence in the West German Labour Market: Negative Duration Dependence or Sorting?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 91-113, February.
    11. Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2002. "Maintenance of and Innovation in Long-Term Panel Studies: The Case of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 276, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Steiner, Viktor, 1997. "Extended benefit entitlement periods and the duration of unemployment in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-14, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    13. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal & Andrew Pickles, 2004. "GLLAMM Manual," U.C. Berkeley Division of Biostatistics Working Paper Series 1160, Berkeley Electronic Press.
    14. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kai-Uwe Müller & Viktor Steiner, 2008. "Would a Legal Minimum Wage Reduce Poverty?: A Microsimulation Study for Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 791, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Victoria Prowse & Peter Haan, 2010. "The design of unemployment transfers: Evidence from a dynamic structural life-cycle model," Economics Series Working Papers 478, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Viktor Steiner, 2007. "Beschäftigungsförderung und Einkommenssicherung im Niedriglohnbereich: Wege und Irrwege," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 747, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Müller, Kai-Uwe & Steiner, Viktor, 2008. "Would a Legal Minimum Wage Reduce Poverty? A Microsimulation Study for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3491, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Pio Baake & Vanessa von Schlippenbach, 2008. "Upfront Payments and Listing Decisions," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 793, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Martin Schindler & Mariya Aleksynska, 2011. "Labor Market Regulations in Low-, Middle- and High-Income Countries; A New Panel Database," IMF Working Papers 11/154, International Monetary Fund.
    7. repec:spr:jlabrs:v:50:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s12651-017-0221-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Tom Krebs & Martin Scheffel, 2013. "Macroeconomic Evaluation of Labor Market Reform in Germany," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(4), pages 664-701, December.

    More about this item


    unemployment duration; unemployment insurance; benefit-entitlement effects; German labour market reforms; ex-ante evaluation; hazard rate model;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. SOEP based publications


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp46. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.