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The Effect of Extended Unemployment Benefit on the Job Finding Hazards: A Quasi-Experiment in Japan


  • Machikita, Tomohiro

    () (Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO))

  • Kohara, Miki

    () (Osaka University)

  • Sasaki, Masaru

    () (Osaka University)


This paper studies how changes in extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefit affect the duration of unemployment. We investigate this question by exploiting not only strict age thresholds but also the pre-displacement tenure and the reason for separation from the previous job in the Japanese UI system which determines a worker's maximum potential UI benefit duration at the age of 45. Job-seekers who became unemployed due to exogenous reasons (such as establishment closure) at the age threshold of 45 who have longer pre-displacement tenure receive maximum benefits for longer durations. This rule creates a local randomized experiment. Using a large administrative dataset to implement a difference-in-differences approach for the narrow age range of 44-46 who entered unemployment in the same month in the same year, we find that longer maximum benefit durations do not lead to a decrease in the jobless hazard; the duration of unemployment is not prolonged among jobseekers who have longer maximum benefit duration. This result is robust to shorter and longer tenure before entering unemployment. The non-negative effect on the jobless hazard is primarily due to a small difference in maximum duration between the treated group and the control group. In addition, workers with firm-specificity are likely to take any job in difficult position. Since the disincentive effects of UI benefit is weaker among UI recipients with firm-specific human capital, the results suggest that extending UI benefit of prime-age job-seekers with longer tenure at previous job is an effective tool to enhance welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Machikita, Tomohiro & Kohara, Miki & Sasaki, Masaru, 2013. "The Effect of Extended Unemployment Benefit on the Job Finding Hazards: A Quasi-Experiment in Japan," IZA Discussion Papers 7559, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7559

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-782, July.
    2. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392 Elsevier.
    3. Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Jan C. Ours, 2014. "Labor Market Effects Of Unemployment Insurance Design," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 284-311, April.
    4. Landais, Camille & Michaillat, Pascal & Saez, Emmanuel, 2010. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 8132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Henry S. Farber & Robert G. Valletta, 2015. "Do Extended Unemployment Benefits Lengthen Unemployment Spells?: Evidence from Recent Cycles in the U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 873-909.
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    9. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Effects of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over 20 Years," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 701-752.
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    12. Jan C. van Ours & Milan Vodopivec, 2006. "How Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Affects the Duration of Unemployment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 351-378, April.
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    More about this item


    maximum benefit durations; unemployment hazard; administrative data;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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