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Search frictions, real wage rigidities and the optimal design of unemployment insurance

  • Julien Albertini

    (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS : UMR8184 - Université de Cergy Pontoise)

  • Xavier Fairise

    (GAINS - Groupe d'Analyse des Itinéraires et des Niveaux Salariaux - Université du Maine, TEPP - Travail, Emploi et Politiques Publiques - CNRS : FR3435 - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (UPEMLV))

In this paper, we study the optimal unemployment benefits financing scheme when the economy is subject to labor market imperfections characterized by real wage rigidities and search frictions. The US unemployment insurance financing is such that firms are taxed proportionately to their layoffs to finance unemployment benefits. Using DSGE methodology, we investigate how policy instruments should interact with labor market imperfections. It is shown that wage rigidities in a search and matching environment cause welfare costs, especially in the absence of an incentive-based unemployment insurance. This cost is mainly due to the distorting effect of wage rigidities which generate inefficient separations. We show that the optimal unemployment benefits financing scheme - corresponding to the Ramsey policy - offsets labor market imperfections and allows implementation of the Pareto allocation. The second-best allocation brings the economy close to the Ramsey allocation. The implementation of the optimal policies clearly highlights the role of labor market institutions for short-run stabilization.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00870055
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  1. Cahuc, Pierre & Malherbet, Franck, 2004. "Unemployment compensation finance and labor market rigidity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 481-501, March.
  2. L'Haridon, Olivier & Malherbet, Franck, 2009. "Employment protection reform in search economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 255-273, April.
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  9. Topel, Robert H, 1983. "On Layoffs and Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 541-59, September.
  10. 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.
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  12. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2002. "Solving Dynamic General Equilibrium Models Using a Second-Order Approximation to the Policy Function," NBER Technical Working Papers 0282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Krause, M.U. & Lubik, T.A., 2003. "The (Ir)relevance of Real Wage Rigidity in the New Keynesian Model with Search Frictions," Discussion Paper 2003-113, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  18. Moyen, Stéphane & Stähler, Nikolai, 2009. "Unemployment insurance and the business cycle: prolong benefit entitlements in bad times?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2009,30, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  19. Mirko Abbritti; Sebastian Weber, 2008. "Labor Market Rigidities and the Business Cycle: Price vs. Quantity Restricting Institutions," IHEID Working Papers 01-2008, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised Jan 2008.
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  22. Campolmi, Alessia & Faia, Ester, 2011. "Labor market institutions and inflation volatility in the euro area," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 793-812, May.
  23. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 1994. "Unemployment insurance taxes and the cyclical and seasonal properties of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-29, January.
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  25. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  26. Kai Christoffel & Tobias Linzert, 2010. "The Role of Real Wage Rigidity and Labor Market Frictions for Inflation Persistence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(7), pages 1435-1446, October.
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