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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
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:11-48
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  1. Hagedorn, Marcus & Manovskii, Iourii, 2008. "The cyclical behavior of equilibrium unemployment and vacancies revisited," Working Paper Series 0853, European Central Bank.
  2. Haefke, Christian & Sonntag, Marcus & van Rens, Thijs, 2008. "Wage Rigidity and Job Creation," IZA Discussion Papers 3714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez & Camille Landais, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Silva, José Ignacio & Toledo, Manuel, 2009. "Labor Turnover Costs And The Cyclical Behavior Of Vacancies And Unemployment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(S1), pages 76-96, May.
  5. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marcelo Veracierto, 2004. "Firing Costs and Business Cycle Fluctuations," 2004 Meeting Papers 590, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Blanchard, Olivier & Tirole, Jean, 2006. "The Joint Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection: A First Pass," IDEI Working Papers 258, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  8. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2009. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1339-1369, 09.
  9. 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.
  10. Cahuc, Pierre & Zylberberg, André, 2008. "Optimum income taxation and layoff taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2003-2019, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Barnichon, Regis, 2010. "Building a composite Help-Wanted Index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 175-178, December.
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  1. Optimal Labor-Market Policy in Recessions (AEJ:MA 2015) in ReplicationWiki

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