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Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects

  • Marcus Hagedorn
  • Fatih Karahan
  • Iourii Manovskii
  • Kurt Mitman

We exploit a policy discontinuity at U.S. state borders to identify the labor market implications of unemployment benefit extensions. In contrast to the existing literature that focused on estimating the effects of benefit duration on job search decisions by the unemployed – the micro effect – we are guided by equilibrium labor market theory and focus on measuring the general equilibrium macro effect that operates through the response of job creation to benefit extensions. After developing a new methodology to measure the macro effect, we find that it is this effect that is very important quantitatively. In particular, benefit extensions raise equilibrium wages and lead to a sharp contraction in vacancy creation, employment, and a rise in unemployment.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19499.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19499
Note: EFG
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  1. Casey B. Mulligan, 2010. "Foreclosures, Enforcement, and Collections under the Federal Mortgage Modification Guidelines," NBER Working Papers 15777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Costain, James S. & Reiter, Michael, 2008. "Business cycles, unemployment insurance, and the calibration of matching models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1120-1155, April.
  3. Donald W.K. Andrews, 2003. "Cross-section Regression with Common Shocks," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1428, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Christian Haefke & Marcus Sonntag & Thijs van Rens, 2012. "Wage Rigidity and Job Creation," Working Papers 629, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Casey B. Mulligan, 2008. "A Depressing Scenario: Mortgage Debt Becomes Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 14514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
  8. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  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.
  10. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  11. Casey B. Mulligan, 2009. "Means-Tested Mortgage Modification: Homes Saved or Income Destroyed?," NBER Working Papers 15281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Lee Ohanian, 2012. "Foreclosure delay and U.S. unemployment," Working Papers 2012-017, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  13. Dube, Andrajit & Lester, T. William & Reich, Michael, 2010. "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt86w5m90m, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  14. Jed Kolko & David Neumark & Marisol Cuellar Mejia, 2011. "What Do Business Climate Indexes Teach Us About State Policy and Economic Growth?," NBER Working Papers 16968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 113-118, May.
  16. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  17. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
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