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Benefit Duration, Unemployment Duration and Job Match Quality: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach

  • Marco Caliendo
  • Konstantinos Tatsiramos
  • Arne Uhlendorff

The generosity of the Unemployment Insurance system (UI) plays a central role for the job search behavior of unemployed individuals. Standard search theory predicts that an increase in UI benefit generosity, either in terms of benefit duration or entitlement, has a negative impact on the job search activities of the unemployed increasing their unemployment duration. Despite the disincentive effect of UI on unemployment duration, UI benefit generosity may also increase job match quality by allowing individuals to wait for better job offers. In this paper we use a sharp discontinuity in the maximum duration of unemployment benefits in Germany, which increases from 12 months to 18 months at the age of 45, to identify the effect of extended benefit duration on unemployment duration and post-unemployment outcomes. We find a spike in the re-employment hazard for the unemployed workers with 12 months benefit duration, which occurs around benefit exhaustion. This leads to lower unemployment duration compared to their counterparts with 18 months benefit duration. However, we also show that those unemployed who obtain jobs close to and after the time when benefits are exhausted are significantly more likely to exit subsequent employment and receive lower wages compared to their counterparts with extended benefit duration.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 967.

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Length: 34 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp967
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  1. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C, 2009. "Why is there a spike in the job finding rate at benefit exhaustion?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7525, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Rafael Lalive, 2006. "How do Extended Benefits Affect Unemployment Duration? A Regression Discontinuity Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1765, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2002. "Benefit Entitlement and Unemployment Duration: The Role of Policy Endogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3363, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2008. "Does reducing unemployment insurance generosity reduce job match quality?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 684-695, April.
  5. repec:oup:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:2:p:255-77 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 2000. "Extended benefits and the duration of UI spells: evidence from the New Jersey extended benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 107-138, October.
  7. Knut Roed & Tao Zhang, 2003. "Does Unemployment Compensation Affect Unemployment Duration?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 190-206, January.
  8. Addison, John T. & Blackburn, McKinley L., 2000. "The effects of unemployment insurance on postunemployment earnings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 21-53, January.
  9. Mário Centeno, 2004. "The Match Quality Gains from Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  10. van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2006. "Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Does Not Affect the Quality of Post-Unemployment Jobs: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2171, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Lalive, Rafael & van Ours, Jan C & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1996. "Potential Unemployment Benefit Duration and Spell Length: Lessons from a Quasi-experiment in Austria," CEPR Discussion Papers 1534, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," NBER Working Papers 12893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:4:p:1511-1560 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro, 2007. "How Do Different Entitlements to Unemployment Benefits Affect the Transitions from Unemployment into Employment?," IZA Discussion Papers 3016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Konle-Seidl, Regina & Eichhorst, Werner & Grienberger-Zingerle, Maria, 2007. "Activation policies in Germany : from status protection to basic income support," IAB Discussion Paper 200706, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  17. Tatsiramos, Konstantinos, 2006. "Unemployment Insurance in Europe: Unemployment Duration and Subsequent Employment Stability," IZA Discussion Papers 2280, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2000. "Duration Models: Specification, Identification, and Multiple Durations," MPRA Paper 9446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. 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.
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