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The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Benefits on Layoffs Using Firm and Individual Data

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  • Patricia M. Anderson
  • Bruce D. Meyer

Abstract

We examine the effects of unemployment insurance (UI) experience rating on layoffs using high quality firm and individual data. Our preferred estimates imply that incomplete experience rating is responsible for over twenty percent of temporary layoffs. The results are more mixed regarding the predictions of the alternative models of UI as a firm adjustment cost or a component of the worker compensation package. While the evidence favors the adjustment cost model, some of the predictions of each of these models are rejected by at least one of our specifications. Using our new data, we also confirm the correlation between experience rating proxies and layoffs found in past studies. However, the differences between these proxies and state average firm tax costs and the anomalous instrumental variables estimates that we find suggest that it may be inappropriate to causally interpret this correlation.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Benefits on Layoffs Using Firm and Individual Data," NBER Working Papers 4960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4960
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
    2. Topel, Robert H, 1983. "On Layoffs and Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 541-559, September.
    3. Rebecca M. Blank & David E. Card, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-1189.
    4. Topel, Robert H, 1984. "Experience Rating of Unemployment Insurance and the Incidence of Unemployment," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 61-90, April.
    5. John M. Abowd & Orley C. Ashenfelter, 1981. "Anticipated Unemployment, Temporary Layoffs, and Compensating Wage Differentials," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 141-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Takeup Rates," NBER Working Papers 4787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Anderson, Patricia M & Meyer, Bruce D, 1993. "Unemployment Insurance in the United States: Layoff Incentives and Cross Subsidies," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 70-95, January.
    8. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Temporary Layoffs in the Theory of Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 937-957, October.
    9. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 1994. "Unemployment insurance taxes and the cyclical and seasonal properties of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-29, January.
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    11. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:26:y:1994:i:1994-3:p:177-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Bruce D. Meyer, 1989. "A Quasi-Experimental Approach to the Effects of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-938, October.
    14. Patricia M. Anderson, 1993. "Linear Adjustment Costs and Seasonal Labor Demand: Evidence from Retail Trade Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1015-1042.
    15. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1997. "Unemployment and Nonemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 295-300, May.
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    18. Feldstein, Martin S, 1978. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance on Temporary Layoff Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 834-846, December.
    19. Robert S. Smith, 1979. "Compensating Wage Differentials and Public Policy: A Review," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 32(3), pages 339-352, April.
    20. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
    21. Topel, Robert H, 1984. "Equilibrium Earnings, Turnover, and Unemployment: New Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 500-522, October.
    22. Adams, James D., 1986. "Equilibrium taxation and experience rating in a federal system of unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 51-77, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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