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Labor Market Institutions and the Cost of Recessions

Listed author(s):
  • Krebs, Tom

    ()

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Scheffel, Martin

    ()

    (University of Cologne)

This paper studies the effect of two labor market institutions, unemployment insurance (UI) and job search assistance (JSA), on the output cost and welfare cost of recessions. The paper develops a tractable incomplete-market model with search unemployment, skill depreciation during unemployment, and idiosyncratic as well as aggregate labor market risk. The theoretical analysis shows that an increase in JSA and a reduction in UI reduce the output cost of recessions by making the labor market more fluid along the job finding margin and thus making the economy more resilient to macroeconomic shocks. In contrast, the effect of JSA and UI on the welfare cost of recessions is in general ambiguous. The paper also provides a quantitative application to the German labor market reforms of 2003- 2005, the so-called Hartz reforms, which improved JSA (Hartz III reform) and reduced UI (Hartz IV reform). According to the baseline calibration, the two labor market reforms led to a substantial reduction in the output cost of recessions and a more moderate reduction in the welfare cost of recessions in Germany.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10442.

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Length: 112 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10442
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  1. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
  2. Samuel Muehlemann & Harald Pfeifer, 2012. "The structure of hiring costs in Germany - evidence from firm-level data," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0077, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Sep 2013.
  3. Fougère, Denis & Pradel, Jacqueline & Roger, Muriel, 2009. "Does the public employment service affect search effort and outcomes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 846-869, October.
  4. Matthias S. Hertweck & Oliver Sigrist, 2013. "The Aggregate Effects of the Hartz Reforms in Germany," Working papers 2013/01, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  5. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Nicola Pavoni, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance, With Human Capital Depreciation, And Duration Dependence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 323-362, 05.
  7. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "Recovery from Financial Crises: Evidence from 100 Episodes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 50-55, May.
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  9. Dirk Krüger, 2009. "Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries," MEA discussion paper series 09184, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  10. Marcus Hagedorn & Fatih Karahan & Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman, 2013. "Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects," NBER Working Papers 19499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bruno Crépon & Esther Duflo & Marc Gurgand & Roland Rathelot & Philippe Zamora, 2013. "Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00840901, HAL.
  12. Krebs, Tom & Scheffel, Martin, 2012. "Macroeconomic Evaluation of Labor Market Reform in Germany," Working Papers 12-23, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  13. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas Mueller, 2008. "Job Search and Unemployment Insurance: New Evidence from Time Use Data," Working Papers 1070, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  14. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Pissarides, C A, 1979. "Job Matchings with State Employment Agencies and Random Search," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(356), pages 818-833, December.
  16. Henry S. Farber & Robert G. Valletta, 2013. "Do extended unemployment benefits lengthen unemployment spells? evidence from recent cycles in the U.S. labor market," Working Paper Series 2013-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  17. Sabine Klinger & Thomas Rothe, 2012. "The Impact of Labour Market Reforms and Economic Performance on the Matching of the Short‐term and the Long‐term Unemployed," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 59(1), pages 90-114, 02.
  18. Philip Jung & Moritz Kuhn, 2014. "Labour Market Institutions and Worker Flows: Comparing Germany and the US," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(581), pages 1317-1342, December.
  19. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
  20. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Krebs, Tom & Scheffel, Martin, 2010. "A macroeconomic model for the evaluation of labor market reforms," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-050, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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