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Optimal Unemployment Insurance Design:Time Limits, Monitoring, or Workfare?

  • Fredriksson, Peter

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

  • Holmlund, Bertil

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

This paper analyses crucial design features of unemployment insurance (UI) policies. We examine three different means of improving the efficiency of UI: the duration of benefit payments, monitoring in conjunction with sanctions, and workfare. To that end we develop a quantitative model of equilibrium unemployment. The model features worker heterogeneity, which takes the form of differences in preferences for leisure. All the instruments are ways of limiting the duration of UI benefit receipt and the model can be used to compare them in a coherent fashion. The analysis suggests that a system with monitoring and sanctions restores search incentives most effectively, since it brings additional incentives to search actively so as to avoid the sanction. Therefore, the UI provider can offer a more generous UI replacement rate in a system with monitoring and sanctions than in the other two systems. Workfare appears to be inferior to the other two systems.

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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2003:17.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 25 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Tax and Public Finance, 2006, pages 565-585.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2003_017
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-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. Boone, J. & Fredriksson, P. & Holmlund, B. & van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Discussion Paper 2001-85, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Jan Boone & Jan C. van Ours, 2000. "Modeling Financial Incentives to Get Unemployed Back to Work," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0973, Econometric Society.
  3. Lalive, R. & van Ours, J.C. & Zweimüller, J., 2002. "The Effect of Benefit Sanctions on the Duration of Unemployment," Discussion Paper 2002-19, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Hopenhayn, H. & Nicolini, P.J., 1996. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," RCER Working Papers 421, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Berg, Gerard J. van den & Klaauw, Bas van der & Ours, Jan C. van, 1998. "Punitive sanctions and the transition rate from welfare to work," Serie Research Memoranda 0033, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  6. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2003. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 922, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  8. Paul Beaudry & Charles Blackorby & Dezs� Szalay, 2009. "Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribution Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 216-42, March.
  9. Stephen Williamson & Cheng Wang, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Macroeconomics 9506002, EconWPA.
  10. John Hassler & José V. Rodriguez Mora, 2002. "Should UI Benefits Really Fall over Time?," CESifo Working Paper Series 804, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-62, December.
  12. Gerard van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2000. "Counseling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Social Experiment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0972, Econometric Society.
  13. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Torben Tranas, 2005. "Optimal Workfare with Voluntary and Involuntary Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 459-474, 09.
  14. 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.
  15. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
  16. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 1999. "Is the Threat of Training More Effective Than Training Itself? Experimental Evidence from the UI System," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9913, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  17. Claus T. Hansen & Torben Tranaes, 2000. "Optimal Workfare in a Society of Workers and Non-Workers," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0758, Econometric Society.
  18. Fredriksson, P. & Holmlund, B., 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Papers 1998-2, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  19. Cahuc, Pierre & Lehmann, Etienne, 2000. "Should unemployment benefits decrease with the unemployment spell?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 135-153, July.
  20. Terry R. Johnson & Daniel H. Klepinger, 1994. "Experimental Evidence on Unemployment Insurance Work-Search Policies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 665-717.
  21. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "The Design of Income Maintenance Programmes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 187-221, April.
  22. 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.
  23. Davidson, Carl & Woodbury, Stephen A., 1997. "Optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 359-387, June.
  24. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
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