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Moral Hazard, Optimal Unemployment Insurance and Experience Rating

  • Wang, Cheng
  • Williamson, Stephen D.

This paper is concerned with evaluating alternative unemployment insurance (UI) schemes in a dynamic economy with moral hazard. We consider changes in the size and duration of UI benefits, and the effects of experience rating, and use a dynamic contracting approach to determine a benchmark optimal allocation. Radical changes in the current UI system increase welfare, but not by much. A move to full experience rating has distributional effects, but the aggregate effects are negligible.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 10133.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Monetary Economics 2002, vol. 49, pp. 1337-1371
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:10133
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.eduEmail:


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  1. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  2. S. Rao Aiyagari & Stephen D. Williamson, 1997. "Credit in a Random Matching Model With Private Information," Game Theory and Information 9705005, EconWPA.
  3. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
  4. Hopenhayn, H. & Nicolini, P.J., 1996. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," RCER Working Papers 421, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. S. Rao Aiyagari & Stephen D. Williamson, 1998. "Money and Dynamic Credit Arrangements with Private Information," Game Theory and Information 9802002, EconWPA.
  6. Hansen, G.D. & Imrohoroglu, A., 1990. "The Role Of Unemployment Insurance In An Economy With Liquidity Constraints And Moral Hazard," Papers 21, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  7. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Staff Report 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Stephen Williamson & Cheng Wang, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Macroeconomics 9506002, EconWPA.
  9. Andrew Atkeson & Robert E Lucas, 2010. "On Efficient Distribution with Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2179, David K. Levine.
  10. Addison, John T & Portugal, Pedro, 1989. "Job Displacement, Relative Wage Changes, and Duration of Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 281-302, July.
  11. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  12. Wang, Cheng, 1995. "Dynamic Insurance with Private Information and Balanced Budgets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 577-95, October.
  13. Phelan, C. & Townsend, R.M., 1990. "Computing Multiperiod, Information-Constrained Optima," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 90-13, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  14. Blank, Rebecca M & Card, David E, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-89, November.
  15. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1997. "Unemployment and Nonemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 295-300, May.
  16. 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.
  17. Gomes, Joao F & Greenwood, Jeremy & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1997. "Equilibrium Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1602, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Topel, Robert H, 1983. "On Layoffs and Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 541-59, September.
  19. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
  20. Stephane Pallage & Christian Zimmermann, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Heterogeneous Skills," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 54, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  21. Carl Davidson & Stephen A. Woodbury, 1997. "The Optimal Dole with Risk Aversion, Job Destruction, and Worker Heterogeneity," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 97-47, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
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