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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. 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.
  2. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2003. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 922, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Bulent Guler & Fatih Guvenen & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Joint-Search Theory: New Opportunities and New Frictions," NBER Working Papers 15011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Susanne Ek & Bertil Holmlund, 2010. "Family Job Search, Wage Bargainings, and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," CESifo Working Paper Series 2920, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Casamatta, Georges & Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. "Political sustainability and the design of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 341-364, March.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Robert E. Hall & Paul R. Milgrom, 2008. "The Limited Influence of Unemployment on the Wage Bargain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1653-74, September.
  9. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  10. David Neumark & Sanders D. Korenman, 1988. "Does marriage really make men more productive?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. 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.
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