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Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells

  • Bruce D. Meyer

This paper tests the effects of the level and length of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits on unemployment durations. The paper particularly studies individual behavior during the weeks just prior to when benefits lapse. Higher UI benefits are found to have a strong negative effect on the probability of leaving unemployment. However, the probability of leaving unemployment rises dramatically just prior to when benefits lapse. When the length of benefits is extended, the probability of a spell ending is also very high in the week benefits were previously expected to lapse. Individual data are used with accurate information on spell durations, and the level and length of benefits. Semiparametric estimation techniques are used and compared to alternative approaches. The semiparametric approach yields more plausible estimates and provides useful diagnostics.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2546.

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Date of creation: Mar 1988
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Econometrica, Vol. 58, No. 4, pp. 757-782, (July 1990).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2546
Note: LS
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