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Do Benefit Cuts Boost Job Findings? Swedish Evidence from the 1990s

  • Carling, K.
  • Holmlund, B.
  • Vejsiu, A.

In June 1995, the Swedish parliament decided to cut the replacement rate in unemployment insurance from 80 percent to 75 percent, a change that took effect on January 1, 1996. This paper examines how this change affected job finding rates among unemployed insured individuals. To identify the effect of the policy we exploit a quasi-experimental feature of the benefit cut: only a fraction of the unemployed was affected by the reduction in replacement rates. We compare the evolution of job finding rates before and after the reform among those affected and those not affected. Our estimates suggest that the reform caused an increase in the transition rate of roughly 10 percent. There is also evidence of anticipatory behavior among the unemployed; the effects of the reform seem to operate several months before its actual implementation in January 1996.

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Paper provided by Uppsala - Working Paper Series in its series Papers with number 1999:20.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:uppaal:1999:20
Contact details of provider: Postal:
UPPSALA UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, S-751 20 UPPSALA SWEDEN.

Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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  1. Carling, Kenneth & Soderberg, Hans, 1998. "An experimental comparison of gradient methods in econometric duration analysis," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 83-97, March.
  2. Edin, P.-A. & Fredriksson, P., 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Papers 2000-19, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  3. CASAMATTA, Georges & CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Political sustainability and the design of social insurance," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1449, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  5. Steiner, Viktor, 1997. "Extended benefit entitlement periods and the duration of unemployment in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-14, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. Jennifer Hunt, 1992. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 50, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nickell, Stephen, 1998. "Unemployment: Questions and Some Answers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 802-16, May.
  9. Atkinson, A. B. & Gomulka, J. & Micklewright, J. & Rau, N., 1984. "Unemployment benefit, duration and incentives in Britain : How robust is the evidence?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 3-26.
  10. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1983. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Working Paper Series 99, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  11. Burdett, Kenneth, 1979. "Unemployment Insurance Payments as a Search Subsidy: A Theoretical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 333-43, July.
  12. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1994. "The Effects of Changes of the Job Offer Arrival Rate on the Duration of Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 478-98, July.
  13. Holmlund, Bertil, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Working Paper Series 1997:25, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  14. Cleveland, William S. & Devlin, Susan J. & Grosse, Eric, 1988. "Regression by local fitting : Methods, properties, and computational algorithms," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 87-114, January.
  15. Lawrence F. Katz & Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "The Impact of the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 2741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Carling, Kenneth & Edin, Per-Anders & Harkman, Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 1996. "Unemployment duration, unemployment benefits, and labor market programs in Sweden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 313-334, March.
  17. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  18. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345, December.
  19. Narendranathan, W & Nickell, S & Stern, J, 1985. "Unemployment Benefits Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(378), pages 307-29, June.
  20. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, 07.
  21. Bruce D. Meyer, 1989. "A Quasi-Experimental Approach to the Effects of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Devine, Theresa J. & Kiefer, Nicolas M., 1991. "Empirical Labor Economics: The Search Approach," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195059366, December.
  23. Narendranathan, W. & Stewart, M.B., 1989. "Modelling The Probability Of Leaving Unemployment: Competing Risks Models With Flexible Baseline Hazards," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 331, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  24. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search Decisions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  25. Toikka, Richard S, 1976. "A Markovian Model of Labor Market Decisions by Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 821-34, December.
  26. Axell, Bo & Lang, Harald, 1990. " The Effects of Unemployment Compensation in General Equilibrium with Search Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(4), pages 531-40.
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