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How Changes in Benefits Entitlement Affect Job-Finding: Lessons from the Slovenian "Experiment"


  • van Ours, Jan C.

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Vodopivec, Milan

    () (University of Primorska)


In 1998 the Slovenian UI system was drastically reformed. The reform reduced the potential duration of unemployment benefits substantially and simultaneously improved employment services offered to, and monitoring of, the recipients. We find that the reduction in potential benefit duration had a positive effect on the exit rate out of unemployment – both to employment and to other destinations – at various durations of unemployment spells and for many categories of unemployed workers. We also identify a clear spike in the exit rate out of unemployment in the month unemployment benefits expire (and a smaller spike in the month thereafter), and for males an increase of job-finding rate in the third month of unemployment, a likely consequence of a reduction of the level of benefit that occurs at that point. Interestingly, post-unemployment wages of recipients were not affected after the change of the law, suggesting that higher job-finding rates following the reduction of benefits were not produced by reduced reservation wages (higher acceptance probability) but rather more effective job-search activity.

Suggested Citation

  • van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2004. "How Changes in Benefits Entitlement Affect Job-Finding: Lessons from the Slovenian "Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1181, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1181

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, June.
    2. Ham, John C & Rea, Samuel A, Jr, 1987. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 325-353, July.
    3. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 2009. "Surviving Unemployment Without State Support: Unemployment and Household Formation in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(1), pages 1-51, January.
    4. Vodopivec, Milan & Worgotter, Andreas & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2003. "Unemployment benefit systems in Central and Eastern Europe : a review of the 1990s," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 26307, The World Bank.
    5. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
    6. Knut Roed & Tao Zhang, 2003. "Does Unemployment Compensation Affect Unemployment Duration?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 190-206, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. van Ours, Jan C & Vodopivec, Milan, 2005. "How Changes in Benefits Entitlement Affect the Duration of Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4962, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "Unemployment and vacancy fluctuations in the matching model: inspecting the mechanism," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 19-50.
    3. Mário Centeno & Álvaro A. Novo, 2007. "The Regressivity of Unemployment Insurance: Identification of the Income Effect Through the July 1999 Legislation," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    4. 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.
    5. Andrew C. Johnston & Alexandre Mas, 2015. "Potential Unemployment Insurance Duration and Labor Supply: The Individual and Market-Level Response to a Benefit Cut," Working Papers 590, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Howell David R. & Baker Dean & Glyn Andrew & Schmitt John, 2007. "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Review of the Evidence," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-73, May.
    7. Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2005. "Lessons learned: Internationale Evaluierungsergebnisse zu Wirkungen aktiver und aktivierender Arbeitsmarktpolitik," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200509, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    8. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 113-118, May.
    9. Emmanuel Duguet & Florent Frémigacci & Yannick L’Horty, 2008. "Indemnisation du chômage et retour à l’emploi : un examen économétrique," Documents de recherche 08-07, Centre d'Études des Politiques Économiques (EPEE), Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne.
    10. Kuddo, Arvo, 2009. "Labor laws in Eastern European and Central Asian countries : minimum norms and practices," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 51698, The World Bank.
    11. Jan C. van Ours & Milan Vodopivec, 2006. "How Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Affects the Duration of Unemployment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 351-378, April.
    12. Mário Centeno & Álvaro A. Novo, 2007. "Identifying Unemployment Insurance Income Effects with a Quasi-Natural Experiment," Working Papers w200710, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.

    More about this item


    post-unemployment wages; unemployment insurance; potential benefit duration; job finding rates;

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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