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Borrowing Constraints, the Cost of Precautionary Saving, and Unemployment Insurance

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  • Thomas F. Crossley
  • Hamish W. Low

Abstract

Job losers exhibit significant heterogeneity in wealth holdings and in the marginal propensity to consume transitory income. We consider potential sources of this heterogeneity, whether (some of) the unemployed face borrowing constraints, and the implications of this heterogeneity for unemployment insurance. We show theoretically how the optimal benefit can depend significantly on borrowing constraints, and on other (non-precautionary) savings motives. We report empirical evidence that (i) a quarter of job losers cannot borrow for current consumption, (ii) this constraint is binding for a much smaller fraction, and (iii) that "excess sensitivity" is not limited to the constrained.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas F. Crossley & Hamish W. Low, 2005. "Borrowing Constraints, the Cost of Precautionary Saving, and Unemployment Insurance," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 125, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:125
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Basten & Andreas Fagereng & Kjetil Telle, 2016. "Saving and Portfolio Allocation Before and After Job Loss," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(2-3), pages 293-324, March.
    2. Chetty, Raj, 2006. "A general formula for the optimal level of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1879-1901, November.
    3. Nicola Pavoni & G. L. Violante, 2007. "Optimal Welfare-to-Work Programs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 283-318.
    4. Robin Boadway, 2012. "Recent Advances in Optimal Income Taxation," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 200(1), pages 15-39, March.
    5. Bhattacharyya, Chandril & Gupta, Manash Ranjan, 2015. "Union, efficiency of labour and endogenous growth," MPRA Paper 64911, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Rothstein, Jesse & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 2011. "Constrained after college: Student loans and early-career occupational choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 149-163, February.
    7. Kyle Herkenhoff, 2014. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Unemployment," 2014 Meeting Papers 448, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment; savings; credit constraints; life-cycle; consumption; unemployment insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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