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Family Job Search, Wage Bargaining, and Optimal Unemployment Insurance

  • Ek Spector, Susanne

    ()

    (Confederation of Swedish Enterprise)

  • Holmlund, Bertil

    ()

    (Uppsala University)

The paper develops an equilibrium search and matching model where two-person families as well as singles participate in the labor market. We show that equilibrium entails wage dispersion among equally productive risk-averse workers. Marital status as well as spousal labor market status matter for wage outcomes. In general, employed members of two-person families receive higher wages than employed singles. The model is applied to a welfare analysis of alternative unemployment insurance systems, recognizing the role of spousal employment as a partial substitute for public insurance. The optimal system involves benefit differentiation based on marital status as well as spousal labor market status. Optimal differentiation yields small welfare gains but gives rise to large wage differentials.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4701.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy: Contributions to Economic Analysis and Policy, 2010, 10 (1)
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4701
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  1. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
  2. Ek Susanne & Holmlund Bertil, 2010. "Family Job Search, Wage Bargaining, and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-27, May.
  3. Robert E. Hall & Paul R. Milgrom, 2007. "The Limited Influence of Unemployment on the Wage Bargain," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000135, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Bulent Guler & Fatih Guvenen & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Joint-search theory: new opportunities and new frictions," Staff Report 426, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2003. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," Working Paper Series 2003:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  6. CASAMATTA, Georges & CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Political sustainability and the design of social insurance," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1449, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
  8. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  9. Cullen, Julie Berry & Gruber, Jonathan, 2000. "Does Unemployment Insurance Crowd Out Spousal Labor Supply?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 546-72, July.
  10. Laszlo Goerke, 2000. "Bismarck versus Beveridge. Flat-Rate and Earnings-Related Unemployment Insurance in a General Efficiency Wage Framework," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(3), pages 243-, May.
  11. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
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