IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/epa/cepawp/2011-7.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Unemployment Benefits and Work Incentives: The U.S. Labor Market in the Great Recession

Author

Abstract

In the midst of massive job destruction and sharply rising long-term unemployment, a series of unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility extensions were enacted in 2008-09 that raised the regular 26-week limit to as many as 99 weeks. In response, many leading economists and business press editorials invoked the 'laws of economics' to warn that since extended benefits reduce work incentives, UI extensions would exacerbate the long-term unemployment problem. This paper reviews the evidence put forward in support of the orthodox prediction, which has relied on extrapolating from pre-Great Recession conditions, particularly through the application of "spike at benefit-exhaustion" findings from the early 1980s. Much more compelling evidence can be found by direct examination of the 2008-10 data, which shows no support for UI related work disincentive effects.

Suggested Citation

  • David Howell, Bert M. Azizoglu, 2011. "Unemployment Benefits and Work Incentives: The U.S. Labor Market in the Great Recession," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2011-7, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
  • Handle: RePEc:epa:cepawp:2011-7
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/scepa/publications/workingpapers/2011/Howell_WP_2011_7.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nakajima, Makoto, 2012. "A quantitative analysis of unemployment benefit extensions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 686-702.
    2. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    3. Schmieder, Johannes F. & Wachter, Till von & Bender, Stefan, 2010. "The effects of unemployment insurance on labor supply and search outcomes : regression discontinuity estimates from Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201004, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Lane Kenworthy & Timothy Smeeding, 2013. "GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in the United States," GINI Country Reports united_states, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    2. Jeffrey P. Thompson & Timothy Smeeding, 2013. "Inequality and poverty in the United States: the aftermath of the Great Recession," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Molnar, Agnes & O’Campo, Patricia & Ng, Edwin & Mitchell, Christiane & Muntaner, Carles & Renahy, Emilie & St. John, Alexander & Shankardass, Ketan, 2015. "Protocol: Realist synthesis of the impact of unemployment insurance policies on poverty and health," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 1-9.
    4. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
    5. Enache Cosmin, 2013. "Adverse Incentive Effects of the Unemployment Benefit Level in Romania," Scientific Annals of Economics and Business, Sciendo, vol. 60(1), pages 54-66, July.
    6. Hilary Hoynes & Douglas L. Miller & Jessamyn Schaller, 2012. "Who Suffers during Recessions?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 27-48, Summer.
    7. Christine Erhel & Charlotte Levionnois, 2013. "Labour Market Policies in Times of Crisis: A Comparison of the 1992-1993 and 2008-2010 Recessions," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00880933, HAL.
    8. Gerards, Ruud & Welters, Ricardo, 2016. "Impact of financial pressure on unemployed job search, job find success and job quality," ROA Research Memorandum 008, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    9. Jeffrey Thompson & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2011. "Inequality in the Great Recession: The Case of the United States," Working Papers wp271, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    10. Henry S. Farber & Robert G. Valletta, 2015. "Do Extended Unemployment Benefits Lengthen Unemployment Spells?: Evidence from Recent Cycles in the U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 873-909.
    11. Christine Erhel & Charlotte Levionnois, 2015. "Labour Market Policies in Times of Crisis: A Reaction Function Approach for the Period 1985–2010," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 29(2), pages 141-162, June.
    12. Altman, Morris, 2014. "Insights from behavioral economics on how labor markets work," Working Paper Series 3466, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    13. Bradbury, Katharine L., 2014. "Labor market transitions and the availability of unemployment insurance," Working Papers 14-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment; Unemployment Insurance; Recession; Labor Market;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:epa:cepawp:2011-7. 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: (Bridget Fisher). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cenewus.html .

    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.