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How Changes in Financial Incentives Affect the Duration of Unemployment

  • Lalive, Rafael

    ()

    (University of Lausanne)

  • van Ours, Jan C.

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

  • Zweimüller, Josef

    ()

    (University of Zurich)

This paper studies how changes in the two key parameters of unemployment insurance – the benefit replacement rate (RR) and the potential duration of benefits (PBD) – affect the duration of unemployment. In 1989, the Austrian government made unemployment insurance more generous by changing, simultaneously, the maximum duration of regular unemployment benefits and the earnings replacement ratio. We find that increasing the replacement ratio has much weaker disincentive effects than increasing the maximum duration of benefits. We use these results to split up the total costs to unemployment insurance funds into costs due to changes in the unemployment insurance system and costs due to behavioral responses of unemployed workers. Results indicate that costs due to behavioral responses are substantial.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1363.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economic Studies, 2006, 73 (4), 1009-1038
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1363
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  1. Bart Cockx & Jean Ries, 2004. "The Exhaustion of Unemployment Benefits in Belgium. Does it Enhance the Probability of Employment?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1226, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, . "Benefit Entitlement and Unemployment Duration - The Role of Policy Endogeneity," IEW - Working Papers 112, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  16. Bernd Fitzenberger & Ralf A. Wilke, 2010. "Unemployment Durations in West Germany Before and After the Reform of the Unemployment Compensation System during the 1980s," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 336-366, 08.
  17. John C. Ham & Samuel Rea, 1986. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Working Papers 592, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  18. Adamchik, Vera, 1999. " The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on the Probability of Re-employment in Poland," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(1), pages 95-108, February.
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  22. Moffitt, Robert & Nicholson, Walter, 1982. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance on Unemployment: The Case of Federal Supplemental Benefits," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-11, February.
  23. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2000. "Duration Models: Specification, Identification, and Multiple Durations," MPRA Paper 9446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  24. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  25. Elena Stancanelli, 1999. "Unemployment duration and the duration of entitlement to unemployment benefits: an empirical study for Britain," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(9), pages 1043-1051.
  26. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro, 2004. "How Does the Unemployment Insurance System Shape the Time Profile of Jobless Duration?," IZA Discussion Papers 978, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
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  29. Green, David A & Riddell, W Craig, 1993. "The Economic Effects of Unemployment Insurance in Canada: An Empirical Analysis of UI Disentitlement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages S96-147, January.
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