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Optimal labor-market policy in recessions

  • Philip Jung
  • Keith Kuester

The authors examine the optimal labor market-policy mix over the business cycle. In a search and matching model with risk-averse workers, endogenous hiring and separation, and unobservable search effort they first show how to decentralize the constrained-efficient allocation. This can be achieved by a combination of a production tax and three labor-market policy instruments, namely, a vacancy subsidy, a layoff tax and unemployment benefits. The authors derive analytical expressions for the optimal setting of each of these for the steady state and for the business cycle. Their propositions suggest that hiring subsidies, layoff taxes and the replacement rate of unemployment insurance should all rise in recessions. The authors find this confirmed in a calibration targeted to the U.S. economy.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 11-48.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:11-48
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  1. Barnichon, Regis, 2010. "Building a composite Help-Wanted Index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 175-178, December.
  2. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Optimal unemployment insurance over the business cycle," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 35596, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
  5. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0839, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Marcelo Veracierto, 2004. "Firing Costs and Business Cycle Fluctuations," 2004 Meeting Papers 590, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. David Domeij, 2005. "Optimal Capital Taxation and Labor Market Search," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 623-650, July.
  8. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," 2005 Meeting Papers 460, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  10. Blanchard, Olivier J & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "The Joint Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection. A First Pass," CEPR Discussion Papers 6127, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Christian Haefke & Marcus Sonntag & Thijs van Rens, 2006. "Wage Rigidity and Job Creation," 2006 Meeting Papers 773, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Coles, Melvyn, 2008. "Optimal unemployment policy in a matching equilibrium," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 537-559, August.
  13. Engen, Eric M. & Gruber, Jonathan, 2001. "Unemployment insurance and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 545-579, June.
  14. Kurt Mitman & Stanislav Rabinovich, 2011. "Pro-cyclical Unemployment Benefits? Optimal Policy in an Equilibrium Business Cycle Model," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-023, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  15. Akerlof, George A & Miyazaki, Hajime, 1980. "The Implicit Contract Theory of Unemployment Meets the Wage Bill Argument," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 321-38, January.
  16. Garey Ramey & Wouter J. den Haan & Joel Watson, 2000. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 482-498, June.
  17. Cahuc, Pierre & Zylberberg, Andre, 2005. "Optimum Income Taxation and Layoff Taxes," IZA Discussion Papers 1678, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Manuel Toledo & Jose I. Silva, 2005. "Labor Turnover Costs and the Cyclical Behavior of Vacancies and Unemployment," 2005 Meeting Papers 775, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2008. "Two Questions about European Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 1-29, 01.
  20. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-38, October.
  22. Raj Chetty, 2005. "A General Formula for the Optimal Level of Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 11386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
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