IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Unemployment Traps: Do Financial Dis-incentives matter?


  • Pedersen, Peder J.

    () (Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Smith, Nina

    () (Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Aarhus School of Business)


This paper analyses the importance of financial dis-incentives for workers in Denmark. Based on a panel survey which is merged to a number of administrative registers it is possible to calculate precise measures of the economic incentives for labour force participants between employment in a full time job and being on unemployment insurance benefits and considering also the fixed costs of work. The results indicate large dis-incentives effects for groups, especially low paid women. In 1996, 6 per cent of Danish men and 13 per cent of the women had a lower disposable net income if working a full-time job compared to being on unemployment benefits. The effect of these financial dis-incentives is analysed in simple reduced form models of on-the-job search, unemployment search behaviour, unemployment risk, and transition out of the labour force. We find that the net compensation rate in unemployment has a significant impact on women's propensity to leave the labour force, on measures of search intensity, on the risk of being hit by unemployment and on one of our flexibility measures, i.e. the maximum acceptable commuting time to a job. The net compensation rate has no impact on the willingness to move to another place to get a job. However, here we find a significant impact from job attitude related measures. We end the paper reporting the results from including attitude variables along with economic variables. We find a number of significant effects from attitude variables. However, the main conclusion is that economic incentives dominate the present analysis of unemployment traps.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedersen, Peder J. & Smith, Nina, 2002. "Unemployment Traps: Do Financial Dis-incentives matter?," CLS Working Papers 01-1, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aarcls:2001_001 Note: Published in: Peder J. Pedersen & Nina Smith. Unemployment Traps: Do Financial Dis-incentives matter?. European Sociological Review. 2002: 271-288.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. " Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(1), pages 113-141, March.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 893-928, October.
    3. N. Eissa & H. W. Hoynes, "undated". "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1194-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. Pissarides, Christopher A., 1998. "The impact of employment tax cuts on unemployment and wages; The role of unemployment benefits and tax structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 155-183, January.
    5. Andrew Dilnot & Alan Duncan, 1992. "Lone mothers, family credit and paid work," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 1-21, February.
    6. Graversen, E.K. & Smith, N., 1998. "Labour Supply, Overtime Work and Taxation in Denmark," Papers 98-06, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
    7. Pissarides, C. & Wadsworth, J., 1988. "On-The-Job Search: Some Empirical Evidence," Papers 317, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
    8. Callan, T. & Dex, S. & Smith, N. & Vlasblom, J.D., 1999. "Taxation of Spouses: a Cross-Country Study of the Effects on Maaried Women's Labour Supply," Papers 99-02, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
    9. Atkinson, A.B., 1987. "Income maintenance and social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 13, pages 779-908 Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. D'Addio, Anna Cristina & De Greef, Isabelle & Rosholm, Michael, 2002. "Assessing Unemployment Traps in Belgium Using Panel Data Sample Selection Models," IZA Discussion Papers 669, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Nisar Ahmad & Rayhaneh Esmaeilzadeh & J?rgen Hansen, 2014. "Immigrant-Native Differences in Earnings Mobility Processes," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 4, pages 13-32, Feburary.
    3. Torben M. Andersen, 2009. "Taxes and employment - is there a Scandinavia puzzle ?," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 359, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    4. Konstantinos Tatsiramos, 2009. "Geographic labour mobility and unemployment insurance in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 267-283, April.
    5. repec:beo:journl:v:62:y:2017:i:214:p:87-106 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Nisar Ahmad & Rayhaneh Esmaeilzadeh, 2009. "Immigrant-Native Differences in Earnings Mobility Processes: Evidence from Canadian and Danish Data," Economics Working Papers 2009-13, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    7. Kamil Galuscak & Jan Pavel, 2007. "Unemployment and Inactivity Traps in the Czech Republic: Incentive Effects of Policies," Working Papers 2007/9, Czech National Bank, Research Department.
    8. Michael Rosholm & Marianne Røed & Pål Schøne, 2013. "Are new work practices and new technologies biased against immigrant workers?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(8), pages 995-1014, November.
    9. Kamil Galuscak & Jan Pavel, 2012. "Taxes and Benefits: Work Incentive Effects of Policies," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 62(1), pages 27-43, February.
    10. Torben Andersen, 2010. "Why do Scandinavians Work?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3068, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Rosholm, Michael & Vejlin, Rune, 2010. "Reducing income transfers to refugee immigrants: Does start-help help you start?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 258-275, January.
    12. Kohns, Stephan, 2001. "Testing for Asymmetry in British, German and US Unemployment Data," IZA Discussion Papers 341, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:3:p:518-531 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. de Koning, J. & Layard, R. & Nickell, S. & Westergaard-Nielsen, N., 2004. "Policies for full employment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47444, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Bjørnskov, Christian, 2004. "Inequality, Tolerance, and Growth," Working Papers 04-8, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Unemployment traps; Incentives; Job attitudes;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:aarcls:2001_001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Helle Vinbaek Stenholt). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.