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Productivity insurance: the role of unemployment benefits in a multi-sector model

Author

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  • David L. Fuller
  • Marianna Kudlyak
  • Damba Lkhagvasuren

Abstract

We construct a multi-sector search and matching model where the unemployed receive idiosyncratic productivity shocks that make working in certain sectors more productive than in the others. Agents must decide which sector to search in and face moving costs when leaving their current sector for another. In this environment, unemployment is associated with an additional risk: low future wages if mobility costs preclude search in the appropriate sector. This introduces a new role for unemployment benefits—productivity insurance while unemployed. Analytically, we characterize two competing effects of benefits on productivity, a moral hazard effect and a consumption effect. In a stylized quantitative analysis, we show that the consumption effect dominates, so that unemployment benefits increase per-worker productivity. We also analyze the welfare-maximizing benefit level and find that it decreases as moving costs increase.

Suggested Citation

  • David L. Fuller & Marianna Kudlyak & Damba Lkhagvasuren, 2013. "Productivity insurance: the role of unemployment benefits in a multi-sector model," Working Paper 13-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:13-11
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Productivity insurance: the role of unemployment benefits in a multi-sector model
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2013-09-28 07:47:04

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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