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Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Unemployment Insurance from New York State

  • Bruce D. Meyer
  • Wallace K. C. Mok

This paper examines unemployment duration and the incidence of claims following a 36 percent increase in the maximum weekly benefit in New York State. This benefit increase sharply increased benefits for a large group of claimants, while leaving them unchanged for a large share of claimants who provide a natural comparison group. The New York benefit increase has the special features that it was unexpected and applied to in-progress spells. These features allow the effects on duration to be convincingly separated from effects on incidence. The results show a sharp fall in the hazard of leaving UI that coincides with the increase in benefits. The evidence is also consistent with a substantial effect of the benefit level on the incidence of claims and with this change in incidence biasing duration estimates. The evidence further suggests that, at least in this case, standard methods that identify duration effects through nonlinearities in the benefit schedule are not badly biased.

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Paper provided by Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago in its series Working Papers with number 0708.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0708
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  1. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1996. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 36, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  2. Solon, Gary R, 1985. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 295-306, March.
  3. David Card & Phillip B. Levine, 1998. "Extended Benefits and the Duration of UI Spells: Evidence from the New Jersey Extended Benefit Program," NBER Working Papers 6714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
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  6. Martin Neil Bailey, 1977. "Unemployment insurance as insurance for workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 495-504, July.
  7. Roed, Knut & Zhang, Tao, 2005. "Unemployment duration and economic incentives--a quasi random-assignment approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1799-1825, October.
  8. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bruce D. Meyer, 1989. "A Quasi-Experimental Approach to the Effects of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392 Elsevier.
  11. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Gary Solon, 1981. "Unemployment Insurance, Filing Delay, and Unemployment Duration," Working Papers 524, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Holmlund, Bertil, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Working Paper Series 1997:25, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  14. McCall, Brian P, 1995. "The Impact of Unemployment Insurance Benefit Levels on Recipiency," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 189-98, April.
  15. Topel, Robert H, 1983. "On Layoffs and Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 541-59, September.
  16. Topel, Robert H, 1984. "Experience Rating of Unemployment Insurance and the Incidence of Unemployment," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 61-90, April.
  17. Anderson, Patricia M & Meyer, Bruce D, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-37, August.
  18. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, March.
  19. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  20. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  21. Knut Roed & Tao Zhang, 2003. "Does Unemployment Compensation Affect Unemployment Duration?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 190-206, January.
  22. Raj Chetty, 2005. "Why do Unemployment Benefits Raise Unemployment Durations? Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 11760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Anderson, Patricia M. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2000. "The effects of the unemployment insurance payroll tax on wages, employment, claims and denials," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 81-106, October.
  24. Danziger, Sheldon & Haveman, Robert & Plotnick, Robert, 1981. "How Income Transfer Programs Affect Work, Savings, and the Income Distribution: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 975-1028, September.
  25. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1976. "Unemployment Insurance, Duration of Unemployment, and Subsequent Wage Gain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 754-66, December.
  26. Arulampalam, Wiji & Stewart, Mark B, 1995. "The Determinants of Individual Unemployment Durations in an Era of High Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 321-32, March.
  27. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment insurance and job search decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  28. Alan L. Gustman, 1980. "Analyzing the Relation of Unemployment Insurance to Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 0512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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