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Unemployment Insurance in High Informality Countries

Author

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  • Espino, Emilio
  • Sánchez, Juan M.

Abstract

Providing unemployment insurance is particularly problematic in countries with high informality because workers can claim unemployment benefits and work in the informal sector at the same time. This paper proposes a method to evaluate alternative schemes to provide insurance for unemployed individuals. First, it presents an economy that can be calibrated to reproduce key features of the economy for which the reform will be evaluated. Then, it shows how the implementation of an unemployment insurance savings account (UISA) scheme can be evaluated. The method is applied to Mexico, and the results show how the UISA scheme would eliminate incentives for participation in the informal sector. The implementation of the UISA would imply large welfare gains from the ex-ante perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Espino, Emilio & Sánchez, Juan M., 2013. "Unemployment Insurance in High Informality Countries," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4550, Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:4550
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. D'Erasmo, Pablo N. & Moscoso Boedo, Hernan J., 2012. "Financial structure, informality and development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 286-302.
    2. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-142, February.
    3. Nicola Pavoni & G. L. Violante, 2007. "Optimal Welfare-to-Work Programs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 283-318.
    4. Polachek, Solomon W., 2008. "Earnings Over the Life Cycle: The Mincer Earnings Function and Its Applications," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 165-272, April.
    5. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-438, April.
    6. Álvarez-Parra, Fernando & Sánchez, Juan M., 2009. "Unemployment insurance with a hidden labor market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 954-967, October.
    7. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment; insurance; informality; Social Security; Labor Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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