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An Adverse Selection Model of Optimal Unemployment Insurance

  • Hagedorn, Marcus


    (University of Oslo)

  • Kaul, Ashok


    (Saarland University)

  • Mennel, Tim


    (University of Bonn)

We derive the shape of optimal unemployment insurance (UI) contracts when agents can exert search effort but face different search costs and have private information about their type. We derive a recursive solution of our dynamic adverse selection problem with repeated moral hazard. Conditions under which the UI agency should always offer separating contracts are identified. We show that the good searcher receives an information rent and that the bad searcher receives the minimal entitlement. From a methodological point of view, we achieve a precise characterization of the sets of jointly feasible entitlements. This allows us to map our analytical results one-to one to a numerical algorithm. According to our results the contract for the good searcher has a decreasing benefit profile, as the one he would be offered in a pure moral hazard environment. In contrast, the contract of the bad searcher is distorted by an adverse selection effect, so that it tends to have an upward-sloping benefit profile. We provide a comparative static analysis of changes in various parameters of our model.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 681.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp681
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  1. 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.
  2. Rasmus Lentz, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Estimated Job Search Model with Savings," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 37-57, January.
  3. Blank, Rebecca M & Card, David E, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-89, November.
  4. Fernandes, Ana & Phelan, Christopher, 2000. "A Recursive Formulation for Repeated Agency with History Dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 223-247, April.
  5. Marcus Hagedorn & Ashok Kaul & Tim Mennel, 2007. "An Adverse Selection Model of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," IEW - Working Papers 315, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  7. Andrew Atkeson & Robert E Lucas, 2010. "On Efficient Distribution with Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2179, David K. Levine.
  8. Steven Shavell & Laurence Weiss, 1978. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 503, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  10. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  11. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, June.
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  13. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1990. "Income fluctuation and asymmetric information: An example of a repeated principal-agent problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 367-390, August.
  14. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
  15. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  16. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  17. Kenneth L. Judd & Sevin Yeltekin & James Conklin, 2003. "Computing Supergame Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1239-1254, 07.
  18. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Stephen D., 2002. "Moral Hazard, Optimal Unemployment Insurance and Experience Rating," Staff General Research Papers 10133, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  19. Mortensen, Dale T., 1983. "A welfare analysis of unemployment insurance: Variations on second-best themes," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 67-97, January.
  20. John Hassler & José V. Rodriguez Mora, 2002. "Should UI Benefits Really Fall over Time?," CESifo Working Paper Series 804, CESifo Group Munich.
  21. Edi Karni, 1999. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance: A Survey," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 442-465, October.
  22. Chang, Roberto, 1998. "Credible Monetary Policy in an Infinite Horizon Model: Recursive Approaches," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 431-461, August.
  23. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
  24. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1990. "Toward a Theory of Discounted Repeated Games with Imperfect Monitoring," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1041-63, September.
  25. Gilles Joseph & Thomas Weitzenblum, 2003. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance: Transitional Dynamics vs. Steady State," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 869-884, October.
  26. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
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