IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Optimal welfare-to-work programs

  • Nicola Pavoni
  • Giovanni L. Violante

A Welfare-to-Work (WTW) program is a mix of government expenditures on “passive” (unemployment insurance, social assistance) and “active” (job search monitoring, training, wage taxes/subsidies) labor market policies targeted to the unemployed. This paper provides a dynamic principal-agent framework suitable for analyzing the optimal sequence and duration of the different WTW policies, and the dynamic pattern of payments along the unemployment spell and of taxes/subsidies upon re-employment. First, we show that the optimal program endogenously generates an absorbing policy of last resort (that we call “social assistance”) characterized by a constant lifetime payment and no active participation by the agent. Second, human capital depreciation is a necessary condition for policy transitions to be part of an optimal WTW program. Whenever training is not optimally provided, we show that the typical sequence of policies is quite simple: the program starts with standard unemployment insurance, then switches into monitored search and, finally, into social assistance. Only the presence of an optimal training activity may generate richer transition patterns. Third, the optimal benefits are generally decreasing or constant during unemployment, but they must increase after a successful spell of training. In a calibration exercise based on the U.S. labor market and on the evidence from several evaluation studies, we use our model to analyze quantitatively the features of the optimal WTW program for the U.S. economy. With respect to the existing U.S. system, the optimal WTW scheme delivers sizeable welfare gains, by providing more insurance to skilled workers and more incentives to unskilled workers.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/common/pub_detail.cfm?pb_autonum_id=1045
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/DP/DP143.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics with number 143.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:143
Contact details of provider: Postal:
90 Hennepin Avenue, P.O. Box 291, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0291

Phone: (612) 204-5000
Web page: http://minneapolisfed.org/

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/ Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Newman, Andrew F., 2007. "Risk-bearing and entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 11-26, November.
  3. Addison, John T & Portugal, Pedro, 1989. "Job Displacement, Relative Wage Changes, and Duration of Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 281-302, July.
  4. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 1999. "Unemployment Insurance Benefit Levels and Consumption Changes," CEPR Discussion Papers 405, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  5. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Figuring out the Impact of Hidden Savings on Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 541-554, July.
  6. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 2002. "Active labour market policy vs employment tax credits: lessons from recent UK reforms," Working Paper Series 2002:1, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  7. van den Bergh, Gerhard & van deer Klaauw, Bas, 2001. "Counseling and monitoring of unemployed workers: theory and evidence from a controlled social experiment," Working Paper Series 2001:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  8. Harold L. Cole & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2001. "Efficient Allocations with Hidden Income and Hidden Storage," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 523-542.
  9. Wang, C. & Williamson, S., 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," GSIA Working Papers 1995-13, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  10. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-42, February.
  11. Boone, Jan & Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil & van Ours, Jan C., 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," IZA Discussion Papers 401, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Hopenhayn, H. & Nicolini, P.J., 1996. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," RCER Working Papers 421, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. Christopher Phelan & Robert M Townsend, 2010. "Computing Multi-Period, Information Constrained Optima," Levine's Working Paper Archive 117, David K. Levine.
  14. Nicola Pavoni & G. L. Violante, 2007. "Optimal Welfare-to-Work Programs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 283-318.
  15. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
  16. Williamson, Stephen D. & Wang, Cheng, 1999. "Moral Hazard, Optimal Unemployment Insurance, and Experience Rating," Working Papers 99-03, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  17. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "Dynamic Labour Force Participation of Married Women and Endogenous Work Experience," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 375-390.
  18. van den Berg, Gerard J & van Ours, Jan C, 1994. "Unemployment Dynamics and Duration Dependence in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 432-43, March.
  19. Christopher J. Flinn, 1986. "Econometric Analysis of CPS-Type Unemployment Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 456-484.
  20. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
  21. Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-66, September.
  22. Thomas Crossley & Hamish Low, 2005. "Borrowing constraints, the cost of precautionary saving and unemployment insurance," IFS Working Papers W05/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  23. John P Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence from OECD Countries' Experiences," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Guy Debelle & Jeff Borland (ed.), Unemployment and the Australian Labour Market Reserve Bank of Australia.
  24. Olivier Blanchard & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Optimal Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection. A First Pass," NBER Working Papers 10443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Aysegul Sahin, 2002. "Unemployment Insurance and the Role of Self-Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 681-703, July.
  26. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
  27. Christopher Phelan & Ennio Stacchetti, 1999. "Sequential equilibria in a Ramsey tax model," Staff Report 258, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  28. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The causes and consequences of longterm unemployment in Europe," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 47, pages 3085-3139 Elsevier.
  29. Flemming, J. S., 1978. "Aspects of optimal unemployment insurance : Search, leisure, savings and capital market imperfections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 403-425, December.
  30. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1996. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 36, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  31. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 370-99, April.
  32. Hausman, Jerry A., 1980. "The effect of wages, taxes, and fixed costs on women's labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 161-194, October.
  33. Berg, G.J. & Ours, J.C., 1993. "Unemployment dynamics and duration dependence in France, the Netherlands and the UK," Serie Research Memoranda 0038, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  34. Arellano, Manuel & Bentolila, Samuel & Bover, Olympia, 1998. "Unemployment Duration, Benefit Duration and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 1840, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  35. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
  36. Robert Shimer & Ivan Werning, 2008. "Liquidity and Insurance for the Unemployed," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1922-42, December.
  37. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2003. "Designing optimal disability insurance," Working Papers 628, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  38. Nicola Pavoni, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance, With Human Capital Depreciation, And Duration Dependence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 323-362, 05.
  39. van den Berg, G. & van Ours, J.C., 1996. "Unemployment dynamics and duration dependence," Other publications TiSEM 4374742f-8d86-458d-9ab3-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  40. Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "A Review of the Recent Empirical Literature on Displaced Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 5-16, October.
  41. Acemoglu, D. & Shimer, R., 1997. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 97-9, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  42. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  43. Abraham Arpad & Nicola Pavoni, 2004. "Efficient Allocations, with Moral Hazard and Hidden Borrowing and Lending," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000138, UCLA Department of Economics.
  44. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  45. 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.
  46. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
  47. repec:mpr:mprres:3224 is not listed on IDEAS
  48. V. Joseph Hotz, 2003. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 141-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  49. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2006. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30.
  50. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  51. Bruce C. Fallick, 1995. "A review of the recent empirical literature on displaced workers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  52. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
  53. Guy Laroque, 2005. "Income Maintenance and Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 341-376, 03.
  54. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Prescott, Edward C, 1992. "Stochastic Monotonicity and Stationary Distributions for Dynamic Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1387-406, November.
  55. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  56. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  57. Stephen E. Spear & Sanjay Srivastava, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617.
  58. Christopher Phelan & Robert M. Townsend, 1991. "Computing Multi-Period, Information-Constrained Optima," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(5), pages 853-881.
  59. Gerard van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2000. "Counseling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Social Experiment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0972, Econometric Society.
  60. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  61. Robert J. LaLonde, 1995. "The Promise of Public Sector-Sponsored Training Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 149-168, Spring.
  62. Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "A review of the recent empirical literature on displaced workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 5-16, October.
  63. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  64. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
  65. Blank, Rebecca M., 1989. "Analyzing the length of welfare spells," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 245-273, August.
  66. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1994. "The returns from classroom training for displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:143. 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: (Janelle Ruswick)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.