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Unemployment Insurance in Europe: Unemployment Duration and Subsequent Employment Stability

  • Tatsiramos, Konstantinos


    (University of Nottingham)

The empirical literature on unemployment insurance has focused on its direct effect on unemployment duration, while the potential indirect effect on employment stability through a more efficient matching process, as the unemployed can search for a longer period, has attracted much less attention. In the European context this is surprising as reform proposals of the unemployment insurance system aiming at reducing high European unemployment rates should consider both effects. This paper provides evidence on the effect of unemployment benefits on unemployment and employment duration in Europe, using individual data from the European Community Household Panel for eight countries. Country specific estimates based on a multivariate discrete proportional hazard model, controlling for observed and unobserved individual heterogeneity, suggest that even if receiving benefits has a direct negative effect increasing the duration of unemployment spells, there is also a positive indirect effect of benefits on subsequent employment duration. This indirect effect is pronounced in countries with relatively generous benefit systems, and for recipients who have remained unemployed for at least six months. In terms of the magnitude of the effect, recipients remain employed on average two to four months longer than non-recipients. This represents a ten to twenty per cent increase relative to the average employment duration, compensating for the additional time spent in unemployment. These findings are in line with theories suggesting a matching effect of unemployment insurance.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2280.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2280
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  8. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2000. "Duration Models: Specification, Identification, and Multiple Durations," MPRA Paper 9446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Lawrence F. Katz & Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "The Impact of the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 2741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Belzil, Christian, 2000. "Unemployment Insurance and Subsequent Job Duration: Job Matching vs Unobserved Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 116, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Temporary Layoffs in the Theory of Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 937-57, October.
  12. Michael Baker & Samuel A. Rea, 1998. "Employment Spells And Unemployment Insurance Eligibility Requirements," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 80-94, February.
  13. Gritz, R. Mark, 1993. "The impact of training on the frequency and duration of employment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1-3), pages 21-51.
  14. Jurajda, Štepán, 2001. "Estimating the Effect of Unemployment Insurance Compensation on the Labor Market Histories of Displaced Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 294, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. 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.
  16. David Card & Phillip B. Levine, 1998. "Extended Benefits and the Duration of UI Spells: Evidence from the New Jersey Extended Benefit Program," NBER Working Papers 6714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2006. "Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Does Not Affect the Quality of Post-Unemployment Jobs: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2171, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. 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 325-53, July.
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