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Unemployment Benefits and the Persistence of European Unemployment

  • Ortigueira, Salvador

    (Cornell U)

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    In this paper, we present a model of labor search in order to assess the role played by unemployment benefits in the increase of European unemployment since the mid 70's. Our main finding is that although benefits may reduce unemployment, they increase the vulnerability of the economy to employment shocks, which may result in a permanent increase in the rate of unemployment. The novel ingredient in our analysis is the simultaneous consideration of capital investment decisions and time allocation decisions. In so doing, we take into account the feedback between economic growth and unemployment. The predictions of our model provide some rationale for patterns in unemployment, capital accumulation and growth rates observed in some European countries.

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    Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 01-16.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:01-16
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    1. Coe, David T & Snower, Dennis J., 1997. "Policy Complementarities: The Case for Fundamental Labour Market Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 1585, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 178, Stockholm School of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," Working papers 427, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1992. "The High Unemployment Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 670, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
    7. Daveri, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Acemoglu, Daron, 2001. "Credit market imperfections and persistent unemployment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 665-679, May.
    9. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1992. "Loss of Skill during Unemployment and the Persistence of Employment Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1371-91, November.
    10. Hart, Oliver, 1982. "A Model of Imperfect Competition with Keynesian Features," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 109-38, February.
    11. Martin S. Eichenbaum & Lars Peter Hansen, 1987. "Estimating Models with Intertemporal Substitution Using Aggregate Time Series Data," NBER Working Papers 2181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Christopher Pissarides, 1997. "The impact of employment tax cuts on unemployment and wages : the role of unemployment benefits and tax structure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2332, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Wouter Den Haan & Christian Haefke & Garey Ramey, 2001. "Shocks and Institutions in a Job Matching Model," NBER Working Papers 8463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Acemoglu, D. & Shimer, R., 1997. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 97-9, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    15. 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.
    16. Howitt, Peter & McAfee, R Preston, 1987. "Costly Search and Recruiting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 89-107, February.
    17. Easley, David & Kiefer, Nicholas M & Possen, Uri, 1985. "An Equilibrium Analysis of Optimal Unemployment Insurance and Taxation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 989-1010, Supp..
    18. Balakrishnan, Ravi & Michelacci, Claudio, 2001. "Unemployment dynamics across OECD countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 135-165, January.
    19. Mortensen, Dale T, 1999. "Equilibrium Unemployment Dynamics," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 889-914, November.
    20. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
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