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Reforming the Benefit System to 'Make Work Pay': Options and Priorities in a Weak Labour Market

  • Immervoll, Herwig


    (World Bank)

Policies that support the unemployed, while reducing employment barriers and benefit dependency, are of particular interest in the current economic climate. This paper examines alternative policy approaches for combining adequate income support for the jobless with incentives to keep out-of-work spells short. After summarising the main parameters of existing income support measures for the unemployed in EU and OECD countries, I review evidence on the economic relevance of work incentives and discuss their significance when labour markets are weak during and after an economic downturn. Based on the available evidence, I propose a set of policy priorities to strengthen both the "protection" and the "promotion" functions of unemployment support.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Policy Papers with number 50.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp50
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  1. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Optimal unemployment insurance over the business cycle," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58321, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Petrongolo, Barbara, 2009. "The long-term effects of job search requirements: Evidence from the UK JSA reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1234-1253, December.
  3. Jesse Rothstein, 2012. "The Labor Market Four Years Into the Crisis: Assessing Structural Explanations," NBER Working Papers 17966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Danielle Venn, 2012. "Eligibility Criteria for Unemployment Benefits: Quantitative Indicators for OECD and EU Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 131, OECD Publishing.
  6. Holmlund, B., 1997. "Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Papers 1997-25, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  7. Rothstein, Jesse, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt5611t356, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  8. Mário Centeno, 2002. "The Match Quality Gains from Unemployment Insurance," Working Papers w200209, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  9. Oreopoulos, Philip & Wachter, Till von & Heisz, Andrew, 2008. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," IZA Discussion Papers 3578, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
  11. Carling, Kenneth & Holmlund, Bertil & Vejsiu, Altin, 2001. "Do Benefit Cuts Boost Job Finding? Swedish Evidence from the 1990s," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 766-90, October.
  12. Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2005. "Welfare Reform in European Countries: A Microsimulation Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1810, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2003. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 922, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Tatsiramos, Konstantinos, 2006. "Unemployment Insurance in Europe: Unemployment Duration and Subsequent Employment Stability," IZA Discussion Papers 2280, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Marco Caliendo & Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Arne Uhlendorff, 2013. "Benefit Duration, Unemployment Duration And Job Match Quality: A Regression‐Discontinuity Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 604-627, 06.
  16. Immervoll, Herwig & Pearson, Mark, 2009. "A Good Time for Making Work Pay? Taking Stock of In-Work Benefits and Related Measures across the OECD," IZA Policy Papers 3, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. David Grubb & Shruti Singh & Peter Tergeist, 2009. "Activation Policies in Ireland," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 75, OECD Publishing.
  18. Virginia Hernanz & Franck Malherbet & Michele Pellizzari, 2004. "Take-Up of Welfare Benefits in OECD Countries: A Review of the Evidence," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 17, OECD Publishing.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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